The US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has granted Microsoft approval to buy Skype Technologies in a deal worth $8.5bn.
Microsoft announced plans to buy the internet telephony services company in May 2011. Microsoft planned to use Skype to provide Skype support for its Xbox, Kinect and Windows Phone devices. Microsoft said it will connect Skype users with Lync, Outlook, Xbox Live and other communities, as well as investing in Skype on non-Microsoft platforms.
Announcing the acquisition, Microsoft CEO, Steve Ballmer, said: "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."
Skype recently suffered two outages in as many weeks leaving some users unable to sign into accounts. Skype issued workarounds for the outages, for which it blamed a configuration problem.
Some critics blamed an integration with Microsoft for the service disruption on social networking site, Twitter. A Microsoft spokesman confirmed Skype is an independent company until the deal has been finalised.