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Microsoft may be about to buy Skype

If you were hoping Skype's busted UI and security vulnerabilities would get major improvements in the future, this latest news might kill that hope. According to the Wall Street Journal, Microsoft is in talks to buy Skype for nearly US$8 billion.

On the surface of it, this seems a mystifying move by Microsoft. eBay owned Skype once upon a time, but the VoIP service regularly lost money for eBay, and Skype's long-term debt is in excess of half a billion dollars. However, this could be a potential coup for Microsoft's mobile OS; if Skype gets directly integrated into Windows Phone 7, that will definitely complicate the mobile landscape.

If the deal goes through, it probably doesn't mean the end of Skype for the Mac or iOS. In fact, with Microsoft's greater resources behind it, Skype's service may even improve. Either way, I hope this gives Apple a much-needed kick in the pants to improve FaceTime, because if Microsoft does indeed wind up owning Skype, I don't want to have to rely on it as my sole source of 3G-enabled video chat anymore.

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