The U.S. Department of Justice has approved Microsoft's planned $8.5 billion acquisition of Skype. The DOJ decision clears a critical hurdle for Microsoft's largest acquisition ever.
The DOJ approved the blockbuster deal without comment in a routine list of acquisition approvals issued Thursday and posted on a federal Trade Commission Website.
When Microsoft and Skype executives announced the acquisition on May 10 they said they hoped to complete all regulatory approvals and wrap up the deal by the end of this year. Microsoft is buying Skype from a group of private investors led by Silver Lake, who own a majority stake in the Internet phone service provider.
Microsoft is counting on using Skype to expand its IP communications strategy and provide a boost in consumer communications markets where Microsoft has struggled. Microsoft has said Skype will support such Microsoft products as its Xbox video game controller, Kinect motion detection system, Windows Phone, Outlook and the Lync communications software for businesses.
Microsoft has promised to continue to support Skype on non-Microsoft platforms.
The popular Skype service accounted for 207 billion minutes of voice and video conversations in 2010 and, on average, has 145 million users each month.