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Microsoft's Skype buy to close by October

24 july 2011, 17:22
Skype chief executive Tony Bates said Thursday he expects Microsoft's purchase of the Internet voice and video leader to close by October, once it gets the green light from European regulators, AFP reports.

"We already got through the US side of it," Bates said at the Fortune Brainstorm Tech conference in this Colorado ski resort.

"We still have Europe so it's anyone's guess, but I would say we've got a couple of months more here," he said. "Maybe sort of an October timeframe would be my guess."

Microsoft announced in May that it was buying Skype for $8.5 billion in a move seen as aimed at boosting its presence in an online arena dominated by Google and Facebook.

Bates said Skype would constitute its own division at Microsoft, a move that he called "unprecedented" for an acquisition by the US software giant.

"I'm a peer president to the other five presidents that run the businesses," he said, reporting to Microsoft chief executive Steve Ballmer.

Bates said he does not expect any re-branding of Skype once it is owned by Microsoft.

Microsoft is getting "one of the greatest brands in the consumer Internet space," he said. "It is a verb. People talk about it in that way. They say Skype me.

"So, you can expect no change," he continued. "You can expect strong commitment to the brand."

Bates also raised the possibility of in-call advertising during calls on Skype but did not provide much detail.

"We obviously think that there's a very rich long-term advertising play" as Skype looks for more ways to make money, he said.

"The one I will just tease for everyone to think about is, we actually think there is a big play in in-call advertising," Bates said. "Watch this space. We think this is going to be a very exciting area for us."

The 43-year-old, who left a senior position at Cisco in August to join Skype, also said becoming the chief executive at Skype fulfilled a goal he set for himself four years ago.

"I'm very goal driven and my wife and I write down goals every year," he said. "One of the two goals I wrote down was I wanted to be a CEO before I was 45... And I wrote down four companies, and one of those companies was Skype."

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