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Top Stories of the Week - May 14, 2011

Microsoft Buys Skype for $8.5 Billion
Microsoft Corp. announced that it has bought the popular VoIP provider Skype Global for US$8.5 billion in cash to increase its portfolio of real-time communications products and services. Experts say this move is to capture Skype’s some 170 million users.

Skype will be integrated into Microsoft communication-enabled devices and systems such as Xbox and Kinect, Xbox Live, the Windows Phone, Lync and Outlook, the Redmond-based company said to the press. Microsoft promises to continue supporting and developing Skype clients on non-Microsoft platforms as well.

Ericsson Concludes the Acquisition of a Chinese Telecom
Ericsson has finalized today the agreement to buy certain assets of the Guangdong Nortel Telecommunications Equipment Company Ltd (GDNT). This purchase gives Ericsson highly-skilled R&D engineers, manufacturing and services professionals, as well as manufacturing and research facilities in China, which has been said to guarantee continued development of the CDMA and GSM businesses in the region.

Analyst Firm Predicts Boom on Network Equipment Sales
Analyst firm IDC believes the network equipment market will be growing to US$51.4 billion by 2014 as they detailed their forecast for the networking industry in their annual breakfast meeting held at the Interop conference in Las Vegas, Nevada.

IDC estimated the market to be worth US$39 billion in 2011. A large share of the network revenues comes from switching at US$21 billion in 2011. IP telephony comes in second at US$7.68 billion and routing is third at US3.69 billion.

iPad/iPhone Apps has new VoIP Features
Updated join.me apps for iPhone and iPad introduces a new VoIP option that lets users listen or participate in online meetings or screen-sharing sessions. The free screen-sharing service by LogMeIn also includes screen sharing, chat, conferencing, remote control of other devices, file transfer, multi-monitor support, downloadable desktop app for hosts and presenters, and an iPad/iPhone or Android viewer for session attendees.

$6 Billion in fees if AT&T and T-Mobile USA deal falls apart
AT&T will give $6 billion worth of assets as breakup fee to Deutsche Telekom if U.S. regulators failed to approve the $39 billion merger with T-Mobile USA, according to insiders.

Despite the high fee, AT&T is confident that it can persuade regulators to support the deal, which is already being opposed by many consumers and AT&T competitors including Sprint Nextel.

A thumbs up is needed from the U.S. telecommunications regulator, the Federal Communications Commission, and the Department of Justice, which reviews antitrust issues around mergers.