The rumors that appeared overnight have turned out to be true. Microsoft has confirmed the purchase of Skype for $8.5 billion in cash.Microsoft has been very clear in that it sees Skype’s technology and services being applied across the board to both its consumer and business customers. That means enterprise customers will receive a new way to communicate over voice and video, but more excitingly, those who own an Xbox and Kinect will also benefit from its introduction, as will Windows Phone 7 owners.With Skype now a wholly-owned branch of Microsoft there may be worries that the service could disappear from non-Microsoft platforms. But Microsoft has been quick to state that Skype will continue to be supported across all devices going forward.With guaranteed billions coming their way, investor group Silver Lake, who previously owned Skype, were delighted. Both Skype and Microsoft boards of directors approved the purchase and only regulatory approval is now required to finalize the deal.Read more at the Microsoft press releaseMatthew’s OpinionWith the news of an acquisition now official, the next question to ask is what Microsoft intends to do with Skype beyond integrating it into existing services and platforms?$8.5 billion is a lot of money to spend, and you have to wonder how much of that is a premium to ensure Google or Facebook weren’t chosen partners instead. But now further investment is required to ensure Skype stays in the number one spot for VoIP communications.Facebook may now come up with its own voice and video service, while Google can continue to develop its existing services. Skype has to keep innovating even if it does already have hundreds of millions of existing users, and it’s now Microsoft’s responsibility to see that happens.