Microsoft has confirmed an agreement to purchase internet telephony and video communications company Skype for $8.5 billion, with plans to connect the service with Xbox Live and Kinect.
Xbox Live users can already talk and engage in Kinect-powered video chats with each other as well as users of Microsoft Messenger and Microsoft's business-focused Lync network
But soon, Skype support for "Xbox and Kinect, Windows Phone and a wide array of Windows devices," will allow the service's 170 million registered users to "connect ... with Lync, Outlook, Xbox Live and other communities," according to today's announcement.
The company promised to continue support for Skype clients on non-Microsoft platforms, including Mac, Linux, iPhone and the PSP
"Skype is a phenomenal service that is loved by millions of people around the world," Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer said in a statement. "Together we will create the future of real-time communications so people can easily stay connected to family, friends, clients and colleagues anywhere in the world."
In January, Microsoft announced plans for an Avatar Kinect service
that lets users communicate by controlling a virtual avatar using Kinect's 3D camera.