Earlier this week, Microsoft announced it had purchased Skype for $8.5 billion. The news was confirmed after rumors of Google and Facebook looking to scoop up the Luxemburg-based company.

Skype, created in 2003 by Niklas Zennstrom and James Friis, offers service to users that enable them to make calls from their computer. The company has seen its fair share of change in management.

In 2006, the original owners sold Skype to eBay Inc. and four years later the auction firm sold most of its stake to private investors.

The news has gotten mixed reaction. With 170 million people using Skype each month, those that think it was a good acquisition believe Skype will be able to improve Microsoft’s services.

“Microsoft and Skype share the vision of bringing software innovation and products to our customers,” said Tony Bates, Skype CEO.

According to Sam Grobart, personal technology editor at The New York Times, “There are a couple of areas that they’re definitely going to be focusing on.” Grobart believes Skype will help boost the attraction of Windows Phone 7, Microsoft’s mobile operating system.

As Microsoft’s Xbox 360 becomes more of a living room device with the addition of the Kinect peripheral, Grobart also believes Skype will be integrated into the gaming system.

There are those who are skeptical about the deal. Microsoft has a history of purchasing other companies only to have them shut down soon after. David Pogue, a New York Times blogger, believes Skype is in danger of becoming one of those acquisitions.

Shortly after Gizmodo posted the news on their blog, users quickly turned to joking comments to show their disapproval of Microsoft’s most recent acquisition.

When asked about the future of Skype, Egon Durban, managing director of Silver Lake, speaking on behalf of the investor group that sold Skype to Microsoft, said, “We are excited about Skype’s long-term future with Microsoft, as it is poised to become one of the world’s most dynamic and comprehensive communications platform.”

The acquisition is subject to regulatory approvals, but both parties hope to obtain all clearances to close the deal during this calendar year.

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