Skype to buy group-messaging company GroupMe
 
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Skype announced it has agreed to acquire group messaging service GroupMe. Financial details of the deal were not revealed.

"Skype and GroupMe have a shared vision of creating applications and experiences that are the daily communications choice for a billion people," Skype CEO Tony Bates said in a statement announcing the deal. "The GroupMe team has created an incredibly sticky group messaging experience that works across mobile devices and platforms, making this a perfect addition to the voice, video and text products in the Skype family."

The year-old service, which combines free group texting and conference calling to create ongoing mobile-based group conversations, is part of a market that turned red hot earlier this year. GroupMe competitor rival Beluga was snapped up by Facebook in March.

GroupMe, which proudly announced in February that it's sending a million text messages a day, launched a revamped version of its iPhone and Android apps in March that feature an improved interface, photo sharing within groups, and location sharing.

GroupMe has raised nearly $11 million in venture funding from partners such as Khosla Ventures, First Round Capital, Betaworks, SV Angel, Lerer Ventures, General Catalyst Partners, and Founder Collective.

The acquisition comes as the Luxembourg-based VoIP company itself is the subject of an acquisition by Microsoft for $8.5 billion.

Skype launched the GroupMe app for Windows Phone

Skype launched the GroupMe app for Windows Phone, following its August acquisition of the tool that enables free, real-time group texting. GroupMe lets you communicate instantly with up to 25 colleagues using chat, photos and location sharing.

Emails get lost and voice mails can take forever for someone to reply to. But with GroupMe, you can send a mobile message to an entire project team or department. It can help you keep your email inboxes clear if you just need to fire off a short message, like a meeting reminder. And the Questions feature lets you send a question to all members of your group simultaneously.

GroupMe is now unique, as one of its main rivals, Beluga, shut down last December. Google+ Hangouts allow you to video chat with up to nine contacts at once, but you have to actively be online to catch them. GroupMe, on the other hand, lets you send messages that group members can pick up whenever they log on.

Groups are capped at 25 members, and there is currently no option to leave a specific conversation within a group. If you leave the group, you cannot be added back to it again.

GroupMe is now available for Windows Phone, Android, BlackBerry and iPhone. Windows Phone users can pin their GroupMe groups of contacts to their smartphone's home screen.

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