Microsoft-Skype Merger Gets Green Light from FTC

Lora Bentley

The Federal Trade Commission approved Microsoft's $8.5 billion acquisition of Skype last week, according to The Register. The takeover is reportedly the software giant's largest, but it hasn't been without its controversy.


When the deal was announced last month, many observers wondered by Ballmer and company paid so much for the struggling Luxembourg firm, which offers an IP-based phone service with video capabilities. NewsOK columnist Malcolm Burko wrote:

Skype has a huge user base, a well-known but poorly esteemed name and a terrible business model. This means that Microsoft management will be spending enormous resources and man hours to improve (if it can) Skype's technology and put a spit shine on its image. Ballmer hopes that a Microsoft/Skype alter ego will increase advertising revenues to its user base. But he ... fails to recognize that the number of websites competing for advertising dollars is growing much faster than the advertising dollars.

Now, top Skype executives are being ousted one by one, according to Bloomberg Businessweek. Writer Joseph Galante surmises the timing of the dismissals will allow Skype to avoid the large payouts that would have been necessary had they been let go after the Microsoft buyout is finalized. He says:

Vice Presidents David Gurle, Christopher Dean, Russ Shaw and Don Albert were dismissed. ... Chief Marketing Officer Doug Bewsher and Anne Gillespie, head of human resources, were also fired. Executives Ramu Sunkara and Allyson Campa, from the 2011 Qik purchase, were also let go.

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