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Posted at 09:37 AM ET, 08/22/2011

GroupMe to be acquired by Skype; text messaging in trouble?


Is text messaging threatened by free messaging apps? (Matt Sayles - AP)
Skype announced Sunday that it’s sealed a deal to acquire the popular group messaging GroupMe in what All Things Digital reported is an $85 million deal.

Sound familiar? The acquisition has echoes of Facebook’s acquisition of Beluga, which laid the groundwork for the network’s new Messaging app. The deal is just the latest move from high-profile tech companies to disrupt the mobile messaging space. It brings Skype, (and, by extension, Microsoft) into competition with other high-profile companies looking to retool the SMS space.

Facebook and Google have recently launched mobile messaging apps, and Apple is also launching its own version, iMessage, with its next operating system.

AT&T announced last week that it was eliminating its $10 per month text messaging plan, giving customers the options to pay base price of $20 for unlimited text messages or to pay its per-message fees. As my Post colleague Cecilia Kang reported in March after the Beluga acquisition, it costs wireless companies very little to process texts, letting them make a hefty profit from them. Analysts predicted then that carriers may add text plans to data packages — AT&T has instead created an all or nothing decision for its customers.

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By  |  09:37 AM ET, 08/22/2011

Tags:  Skype, Mobile, Digital Culture

 
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