Microsoft's Bill Gates says he advocated Skype takeover

Bill Gates

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Microsoft's founder, Bill Gates, has said he advocated the company's takeover of Skype, and urged other board members to support the move.

Last week Microsoft agreed to pay $8.5bn (£5.2bn) for the loss-making internet phone service.

"I was a strong proponent at the board level for the deal being done," Mr Gates, Microsoft's chairman told the BBC's Hardtalk programme.

The multi-billion dollar deal is Microsoft's largest ever acquisition.

"I think it's a great, great deal for Skype. I think it's a great deal for Microsoft," he added.

Skype enables its users to contact each other over the internet for free, while charging for calls made to both traditional landline phones and mobiles.

The Luxembourg-based company, which has 663 million users worldwide has however struggled to make a profit.

But in the interview with the BBC's Stephen Sackur, Mr Gates said the decision to buy Skype was strategic.

"The idea of video conferencing is going to get so much better than it is today. Skype actually does get a fair bit of revenue," said Mr Gates.

"It'll be fascinating to see how the brilliant ideas out of Microsoft research, coming together with Skype, what they can make of that."

You can see the full interview in the UK on BBC News Channel on Wednesday 18 May at 0430 BST. Outside the UK it will be broadcast on BBC World News on Wednesday at 0330, 0830, 1530, and 2030 GMT.

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