Update: Microsoft closed the deal with Skype already. Congrats on your new purchase!

When we get our Christmas bonus (if any considering the economic climate), we often think of what we should be getting our loved ones, and those gifts rarely go to the four digit mark – but if you’re Microsoft, anytime is a good time to spend some money as you flex your economic might. For starters, we have news that Microsoft is very close to concluding a deal to purchase VoIP startup Skype for between $7 billion to $8 billion. Steve Ballmer, chief executive officer of Microsoft, it tipped to give his full support for the deal, and if it goes through, would make it the largest purchase in the software giant’s history.

Skype has been on the market for some time already, and some sources do point towards eBay and Silver Lake Partners being nervous concerning the delayed initial public offering (IPO), and have also tried to sell of Skype instead. Previous suitors were thought to be Facebook and Google, and Microsoft being a late entrant is extremely close to walking away with the prize.

Google might have been fooling around though with their Google Voice service already available, making a Skype purchase redundant. It remains to be seen just how much value the purchase will add to either company. Either way, if you’re one of the two folks featured on the right (Niklas Zennström and Janus Friis, co-founders of Skype), then your 14% stake ought to be worth around $1.12 billion. Nice!

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