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August 22, 2011 at 11:18 AM

Skype buying group text-messaging and calling service GroupMe

skype-logo-placeholder.pngInternet phone company Skype announced today that it’s buying GroupMe, which provides group text messaging and calling.

Skype did not say how much it will pay.

The Luxembourg-based Skype, founded in 2003, is used by more than 170 million customers a month to make phone and video calls and send text messages via the Internet, for free or at a fraction of the cost of landline and wireless calls.

Recently, it’s looked to expand its services to different platforms, introducing group video and buying a mobile video provider called Qik, according to The Associated Press.

GroupMe, a New York-based startup, is one of Microsoft’s BizSpark partners, which provides selected fledgling companies with free software and coaching, according to Mary Jo Foley at ZDNet.

GroupMe allows users to have multiple “disposable” groups, and works on a variety of phones, reports Foley, who adds that company backers had big plans to port their application to the upcoming Windows Phone update, codenamed “Mango.”

Skype itself is being acquired by Microsoft, which announced in May an $8.5 billion deal to buy Skype. The deal — the largest acquisition in Microsoft’s history — is awaiting final approval from international regulators.

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