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Microsoft Gingerly Moves Skype’s China Operations To New Partner

Microsoft has formed a partnership with Guangming Founder, which will operate Skype for Microsoft in mainland China.

Founded in 2011, Guangming Founder is a joint venture between Gmw.cn and Founder, a Chinese computing company. The company mainly focuses on developing mobile new media businesses. Financial terms of the deal were not revealed.

According to Microsoft, users now can migrate from Tom-Skype to the new version of Skype, which is available at Skype.gmw.cn.

Prior to this move, TOM Online, which ran Skype's business for many years in mainland China, announced that Microsoft would take over Skype's China business. The company also claimed that over its nine-year operation, the number of Tom-Skype users had exceeded 100 million. However, later Microsoft said when it takes over Skype, it will be operated via a joint venture partner in China. In addition, the company stated that it does not reveal data in specific countries and that its total global reach is only about 300 million. So the statement from TOM Online's website is incorrect or misleading.

Founded in 2003, Skype is global voice communication software. In September 2005, eBay acquired Skype for USD2.6 billion. In 2007, Skype and TOM established a joint venture in mainland China. This joint venture was responsible for the development and operation of Chinese-language Skype in the Chinese mainland market.

In May 2011, Microsoft acquired the full equity of Skype for USD8.5 billion and in March 2013, the company decided to shut down MSN and migrate over 100 million MSN users to Skype. However, due to the joint venture operation of Skype in China, Microsoft did not implement the migration in the country and MSN still maintained its operation in China.

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