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Internet phone service provider Skype announced it has entered into
a definitive agreement to acquire GroupMe, a provider of mobile group
messaging services that helps users stay in touch and make decisions.
GroupMe was founded in 2010 at the Techcrunch Disrupt Hackathon and is
headquartered in New York, New York. Terms of the acquisition will not
be disclosed.

Through the acquisition of GroupMe, Skype continues its drive to
provide a global multi-modal and multi-platform communications
experience. The acquisition of GroupMe complements Skype’s experience
in voice and video communications by providing text-based
communications and features that enable users to connect, share
locations and photos and make plans with their contacts. This, coupled
with the acquisition of mobile video provider Qik, which Skype
announced earlier this year, helps augment Skype’s role as a provider
of mobile communication user experiences.

"Skype and GroupMe have a shared vision of creating applications and
experiences that are the daily communications choice for a billion
people. We will continue to seek the top talent and technology to make
that vision a reality," said Tony Bates, Skype’s CEO. "The GroupMe team
has created an incredibly sticky group messaging experience that works
across mobile devices and platforms, making this a perfect addition to
the voice, video and text products in the Skype family.”

Jared Hecht, GroupMe’s co-founder, said there is a natural affinity
between Skype and GroupMe and our goal is to continue developing tools
that make it easier for people to communicate, share, and stay in touch
with their close and important ties. "Integrating GroupMe into the
Skype experience is an amazing opportunity for us and accelerates the
execution of our vision tenfold," added Steve Martocci, another GroupMe

In other Skype news, the company recently launched an application on
Apple’s App Store that lets users access WiFi hotspots around the world
and pay with Skype Credit. Aimed at travelers abroad and those who
always want Internet access, the free app’s connection rates start at
$0.06 cents a minute. The service is available for the iPhone, iPad or
iPod Touch (running iOS 4.1 or above with multitasking) at more than 1
million WiFi hotspots around the world, including hotels, airports,
train stations, convention centers, bars and restaurants. There are no
limits on the amount of data a user can upload or download, the company
noted in a release.