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Gates a 'Strong Proponent' for Skype Acquisition

Lync-focused Microsoft partners like Microsoft's acquisition of Skype, but investors haven't been too enthusiastic.

Maybe that's what prompted Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates to defend Microsoft's largest acquisition today in an interview with the BBC.

"I was a strong proponent at the board level for the deal being done," Gates said on the BBC's Hardtalk show. Much is being made today of Gates' support for the deal, although his comment carefully avoids any suggestion that he might have interfered in CEO Steve Ballmer's job by pushing for the deal at the executive level.

Gates also made clear that he thought the move was strategic and wasn't concerned about Skype's struggles with profitability. "I think it's a great, great deal for Skype. I think it's a great deal for Microsoft," he said.

Obviously the deal had Gates' stamp of approval or it wouldn't have gotten done -- he is the chairman, founder and guiding spirit of Microsoft. But I feel a little more confident about Microsoft's commitment to integrating Skype now that I know Gates fought for the acquisition at the board level. (Some questions have already been raised about a possible conflict of interest involving Gates and Silver Lake Partners, but they seem a bit far-fetched.)

What's your take? Leave a comment below or send me an e-mail at sbekker@rcpmag.com.

Posted by Scott Bekker on May 18, 2011 at 11:58 AM


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