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Monday, September 12, 2005

eBay to buy Skype in $2.6bn deal

Online auction site eBay has agreed to buy internet telephone company Skype Technologies in a $2.6bn (£1.4bn) deal.

eBay said it would pay half the amount in cash and the other half in stocks to create "an unparalleled e-commerce and communications engine".

Skype's software lets PC users talk to each other for free and make cut-price calls to mobiles and landlines.

Other players in the online phone market include computer giants such as Google, Microsoft, AOL and Yahoo.

Google recently launched its Talk service, while Microsoft purchased leading player Teleo for an undisclosed sum.

Technology used by Skype, and rivals such as Vonage, converts phone conversations into packets of data and transmits them down the same wires used to surf the internet.

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