Microsoft today confirmed that it has reached an agreement to buy Skype for $8.5 billion (£5.2 billion). Skype is the leading provider in the consumer VoIP space, with 170 million users worldwide. Services include free standard and video calls between Skype users on home computers, the ability to call any phone number from Skype for a fee, and the ability to generate a phone number that can be reached from a standard phone. Skype will now support the Xbox platform, including Kinect, though no time frame has been outlined as to when the new services will become available. Microsoft also said it would connect Skype users with its platforms and communities, such as Xbox Live. Notably, as part of Xbox Live's 2010 fall update, the publisher updated the service's voice chat audio codec. Microsoft also confirmed that it would continue to "invest in and support Skype clients on non-Microsoft platforms." That will likely be good news for Valve, which just recently integrated Skype functionality into its online platform, Steam. Skype Kinect Video Chat should benefit from this.