FTC approves Microsoft's Skype acquisition, Skype fires executives

By on June 20, 2011, 10:29 AM

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has approved Microsoft's planned acquisition of Skype, according to Reuters. The news means the software giant has won US antitrust approval for the deal, thought it remains to be seen if Microsoft will get the same green light in other geographic jurisdictions, such as Europe.

At the same time, Skype is reportedly firing senior executives before the deal closes, a move that reduces the value of their payout. Vice Presidents David Gurle, Christopher Dean, Russ Shaw, and Don Albert were dismissed from the Luxembourg-based company, as were Chief Marketing Officer Doug Bewsher and Anne Gillespie, head of human resources, and executives Ramu Sunkara and Allyson Campa, from the 2011 Qik purchase. The sackings are not public, and come from three people familiar with the matter cited by Bloomberg.

When a company gets bought out, compensation is often tied to the purchase price, but if the employees are fired first, this doesn't happen. The timing of the dismissals means stock options will be worth less than if the executives stayed until the closing of the deal. "As part of a recent internal shift, Skype has made some management changes," a Skype spokesperson said in a statement.

Following rumors that Google, Facebook, and Microsoft were all interested in the Skype, the software giant swooped in. Last month, Microsoft announced that it was acquiring Skype for $8.5 billion in cash. The deal was approved by the boards of directors of both companies, and is Microsoft's largest acquisition to date.

Instead of buying Skype and then trying to integrate its employees throughout Microsoft, the software giant is going to let the service operate as an independent business unit. Skype CEO Tony Bates will be the president of the Microsoft Skype Division. This should hopefully mean Skype will not be restricted from pushing forward.




User Comments: 13

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example1013 said:

I still don't really like this idea, as a consumer, as it positions Microsoft to cut off iOS/OSX, Linux, Chrome OS, and Android from compatability. Hell, Skype could now be included with a fresh Windows install, being first-party. That said, I don't think it really breaks any antitrust laws, as there are other services out there.

stewi0001 stewi0001 said:

Ack I'm confused, I'm currently in a programming mind-set, so I need some help understanding. Was this a smart move that will benifit all around or is someone just being greedy.

All I can tell is the purchase price will be less and the stock values will be less too...

bl4cksh4d0w said:

I am glad to see the current executives go. I love Skype, but they have made some dumb moves on the mobile side in the last year. I am pretty sure at this point MS realizes Apple is not going anywhere, and will continue its Skype support. Office 2011 for Mac OS is a good example.

Vrmithrax Vrmithrax, TechSpot Paladin, said:

example1013 said:

I still don't really like this idea, as a consumer, as it positions Microsoft to cut off iOS/OSX, Linux, Chrome OS, and Android from compatability. Hell, Skype could now be included with a fresh Windows install, being first-party. That said, I don't think it really breaks any antitrust laws, as there are other services out there.

I think it's a very solid move... Rather than just coming up with a median competitor to Google Voice, Microsoft is positioning itself to blast into the market full force with an established Skype product. Skype is already pervasive, you see it everywhere (even news programs have "Skype interviews" these days). Microsoft would lose massive amounts of credibility and advantage if they cut off all of the platforms besides their own - that is a big part of Skype's growing appeal, being multiplatform.

My hope is Skype benefits from having the juggernaut of Microsoft behind them, and does nothing but improve. The key will be in how well the Skype team and coding philosophies mesh with Microsoft's teams.

howzz1854 said:

with the popularity of Skype, no one is really using MSN messenger. it's only a logical move for a company like microsoft to squire it and turn it into MSN messenger. although i don't think they'll go quite a far as naming the whole thing as MSN messenger, but it's only logical for them to phase out MSN and let Skype take over. Good: better integration for Windows users. BAD: potential terrible integration for other (OS)s.

example1013 said:

bl4cksh4d0w said:

I am glad to see the current executives go. I love Skype, but they have made some dumb moves on the mobile side in the last year. I am pretty sure at this point MS realizes Apple is not going anywhere, and will continue its Skype support. Office 2011 for Mac OS is a good example.

That's actually not a great example. Microsoft has been cutting features for years now. Back in 2007 they cut all Visual Basic support. So by that logic, we're going to have bastardized programs with important features missing.

gwailo247, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

example1013 said:

bl4cksh4d0w said:

I am glad to see the current executives go. I love Skype, but they have made some dumb moves on the mobile side in the last year. I am pretty sure at this point MS realizes Apple is not going anywhere, and will continue its Skype support. Office 2011 for Mac OS is a good example.

That's actually not a great example. Microsoft has been cutting features for years now. Back in 2007 they cut all Visual Basic support. So by that logic, we're going to have bastardized programs with important features missing.

Doesn't Apple have FaceTime for this purpose? I'm sure they prefer you using this to Skype anyway.

example1013 said:

gwailo247 said:

Doesn't Apple have FaceTime for this purpose? I'm sure they prefer you using this to Skype anyway.

What about those of us who don't have iPhones, but have macs? FaceTime is iPhone-only, I'm pretty sure. And besides, what if I don't like FaceTime? Skype has been the first option for a while now for me, and I'd rather not be artificially forced into stopping using it just because MS doesn't like Apple. It's certainly not going to make me more inclined to buy Microsoft products, that's for sure.

gwailo247, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

example1013 said:

gwailo247 said:

Doesn't Apple have FaceTime for this purpose? I'm sure they prefer you using this to Skype anyway.

What about those of us who don't have iPhones, but have macs? FaceTime is iPhone-only, I'm pretty sure. And besides, what if I don't like FaceTime? Skype has been the first option for a while now for me, and I'd rather not be artificially forced into stopping using it just because MS doesn't like Apple. It's certainly not going to make me more inclined to buy Microsoft products, that's for sure.

Apparently no: http://www.apple.com/mac/facetime/. Things are looking up already. =)

I get what you're saying, but based on what I've seen, its Apple hating on MS, not the other way around. Since IBM left the PC arena, Apple needed someone to position themselves against to continue to be the underdog, and they picked, obviously, Windows.

MS was never against Apple because Apple was never a competitor in the desktop market. Still isn't.

Apple is the one waging the war with the world, its no surprise that some of their 'enemies' will stop supporting their products on Apple.

The only person that loses is you.

example1013 said:

Well I still have Windows, but it makes it more of a hassle. Regardless, I do get what you're saying. Just like the whole flash thing.

Guest said:

Microsoft: Yeah, Fire all them !!!

Guest said:

And so it begins... Microsoft will eventually turn Skype into rubbish.

bl4cksh4d0w said:

@example1013

Dude a move from 2007 means nothing today. That's 4 years ago, which is a eternity ago in tech time. Heck the iPhone didn't release until the end of June in 07, so Apple hadn't had there big comeback yet. So of course Microsoft didn't perceive them as something worth supporting then. In office 2011 they added a huge feature Outlook. This is a pretty big move, because it allows macs to actually be used in a enterprise environment with Exchange. Prior that was a huge complaint of Office for Mac. I think you are misled, Microsoft knows better then to not support Mac OS and iOS now.

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