Microsoft/Skype Buys GroupMe to Battle Apple, Android

Skype announced  that it will be buying GroupMe, a group messaging application for cell phones.

No details were released on the terms of the deal, but GroupMe had raised $12 million since its startup last year, according to the New York Times. However, because Skype is now going to be a part of Microsoft, one can assume the purchase was made with the full support of the Redmond, Wash., company. After all, now that Apple has iMessage to bypass short message service fees, shouldn't a Windows phone have something equivalent?

Most smartphone users are finding ways to escape texting fees by using applications bypassing wireless carriers. In the last six months of 2010, the number of texts grew only slightly -- 8.7 percent --  the smallest amount in texting's decade of existence. The reason is because users are turning to apps that let users send message via the Internet, not their wireless carriers, and not racking up SMS fees.

GroupMe isn't the only app out there, there are several others such as Beluga (bought by Facebook,) Fast Society and Yobongo. But it's such an attractive application, especially when it saves on texting costs, that most platforms will want to incorporate it. And the easiest way to incorporate it isn't creating one by scratch, but by buying the startup.

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