Hello - this could be big. A few days ago, we told you that Skype - once owned by its founders, then by eBay, then by its founders again with some backers - was once again for sale. Facebook was believed to be in pole position, which made total sense: the two have a partnership already, and Facebook really wants to add voice and video to its popular chat feature.

But the story quickly evolved, and the next thing we knew, Google was also in the picture. This made less sense - Google's Talk and Voice services are essentially a rival, perhaps the main rival, to Skype. It struck us as a defensive measure against Facebook, its increasingly main rival.

But! Now it's all changed again. American tech sites are reporting, with a high degree of confidence in their virtual voices, that Microsoft have come in from nowhere and outbid everyone for Skype - offering a whopping $7 billion. The acquisition is expected to be announced tomorrow.

Why? Well, at first the deal might seem a bit odd, but actually we reckon it makes a sort of sense. With Apple's iChat and FaceTime and Google's Talk, IM and video and voice calling are becoming part of operating systems rather than standalone services. A Skype acquisition would enable Microsoft to bake Skype deep into both Windows Phone and original Windows, as well as whatever the hell they eventually come up with for tablets.

We'd say it's also not a disaster for Facebook. Facebook and Microsoft are buddies, with the software giant owning a chunk of the social network's shares and the social network using the software giant's Bing search engine. These two know their enemies are Google and Apple, and will be happy to work together on filling Facebook with Skype in future, we reckon.

At least, that's all assuming this is even true. We'll know for sure tomorrow.

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