At a value close to $8 billion, the Skype deal would rank as the biggest acquisition in the 36-year history of Microsoft, a company that traditionally has shied away from large deals. In 2007, Microsoft paid approximately $6 billion to acquire online advertising firm aQuantive Inc. Many current and former Microsoft executives believe Microsoft significantly overpaid for that deal. But they are also relieved that Microsoft gave up on an unsolicited $48 billion offer for Yahoo Inc. nearly three years ago. Yahoo is valued at half that sum today.
Acquiring Skype would help Microsoft's push to improve its position in the mobile phone market. The company would likely integrate Skype functionality into their Windows Phone 7 operating system. Skype's iOS app is currently ranked as the 24th bestselling free app.