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Skype Gets the Message: Buys GroupMe

While Microsoft's Skype acquisition is still pending, the VoIP service has reportedly agreed to buy group-messaging startup GroupMe.

Launched just last year, GroupMe let users create private phone groups, send text messages throughout the group, and set up free conference calls.

"The group messaging space in general is one of the most important markets for Skype," Skype CEO Tony Bates tells TechCrunch. "Skype's goal is to get to 1 billion users. Mobile is the place to do that."

"Skype acquired the company presumably to expand on its own mobile group messaging features," reasons ReadWriteWeb.

"People familiar with the transaction say Skype will pay around $85 million for GroupMe," reports All Things Digital.

"Why is Skype spending so much money on a relatively small company with a relatively small user base?" asks GigaOm. "In today's hyper-connected world ... a service provider or a device maker has to figure out how to constantly engage its end users and in doing so, keep their attention."

"Both Facebook and Google recently released their own offerings targeted at group messaging with Facebook Messenger and Google+'s Huddle," VentureBeat notes. "Skype's decision to buy GroupMe shows it wants to make sure it also has its group communication bases covered."

Meanwhile, "A myriad of shakeups in the group messaging space have taken place in the past year, including Google's purchase of Slide in August 2010, Facebook's rollout of Group Chat capabilities after it acquired Beluga in March, and Apple's unveiling of iMessage for iOS 5 in June," adds Mashable.

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