Microsoft acquires Skype

Microsoft and Skype confirmed today an agreement under which Microsoft will acquire Skype for $8.5 billion in cash from an investor group which includes the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board. led by Silver Lake.

Upon approval by the boards both companies, Skype will become a new division of Microsoft. Tony Bates, the current Skype CEO, will run the division and will report directly to Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer

13% of Canadian households have abandoned landline phone service

Wireless phones continue to grow in popularity in Canada. According to Statistic Canada’s Residential telephone service survey, more than three-quarters (78%) of Canadian households had a wireless phone in 2010, up from 74% in 2008.

The December 2010 survey of about 19,000 Canadian households also found that an increasing number of Canadians were abandoning home landline service.

Primus announces acquisition of VoIP provider Unlimitel

Primus Business Services, a division of Primus Canada Inc., has announced the acquisition of Unlimitel Inc., a Quebec based provider of VoIP and Internet services. The companies had been technology partners for a number of years.

The acquisition, which was completed as of the beginning of March, expands Primus’ market reach and network footprint to other regions of the country, with a stronger focus in Quebec.

Bell raising phone prices in New Year

Telecommunications giant Bell Canada this week began notifying consumers that it is raising phone rates in the New Year.

Effective January 1st, 2011, Bell will be increasing the cost of calling features by $2 per feature. Basic features such as Caller ID and Voice Mail will now cost homeowners a whopping $10.95 per feature per month!

Skype 5.0 for Windows released

On its corporate blog yesterday, Skype announced the release of Skype 5.0 for Windows.

New features of the VoIP software include: a new interface which the company says makes the program easier to use; improved call quality, automatic recovery of dropped calls; Facebook integration; offline instant messaging; contact search and improved contact adding.

Vonage Canada slashes pricing

Broadband telephony provider, Vonage Canada, has announced that it has slashed the price of its “World Canada Plan.”

The company’s premium VoIP plan, introduced just two months ago for $40 a month, has been reduced to $30 per month.

Skype for Android app released

On its corporate blog today, Skype unveiled an Android app for its popular VoIP service that runs on most smartphones running Android V2.1 or higher.

With the new app, Android users will be able to make free Skype-to-Skype calls or make calls to landlines or mobile phones at Skype’s current rates.

Free X-Lite 4.0 Sip Softphone released

CounterPath, Vancouver based developers of desktop and mobile VoIP software applications, today announced the availability of X-Lite 4.0, a voice and video softphone for Mac and Windows PCs.

Available as a free download, X-Lite 4.0 takes many of the popular features from X-Lite 3.0 and adds a new user interface that provides the choice of a contact-centric experience, a dialpad-centric experience or a combination of the two.

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