EXPENSIVE CALL FOR HELP: Microsoft Corp. will pay $8.5 billion to buy the popular Internet phone service Skype. It's part of an effort by the world's largest software maker to become a bigger player in Internet and mobile communications services.
THE PRICE: It's the most money Microsoft has paid to buy another company in its 36-year history. The $8.5 billion is three times more than Skype's value the last time it was sold just 18 months ago.
THE GOAL: Microsoft hopes to make video chats on Skype as common as logging on to Facebook and instant messaging.