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Microsoft's Skype division approaching $2b in yearly sales

Nearly two years after taking over Skype, Microsoft has grown the unit, which also includes its corporate instant messaging and voice calling service Lync, to almost $2 billion (£1.3 billion) in yearly sales, Bloomberg has reported.

When Microsoft took over Skype in an $8.5 billion (£5.5 billion) deal in 2011, the web-calling and video-conferencing service was bringing in $800 million (£522 million) in revenue.

The Skype division’s business is right on the heels of that of Microsoft’s SharePoint arm, which provides collaborative tools for enterprise, said Giovianni Mezgec, a general manager in the Skype unit. SharePoint will have amassed more than $2 billion in sales by the close of this fiscal year.

But while Skype has certainly been drumming up significant business for Microsoft, the Redmond, Washington-based company is looking to Lync bring in much more revenue as the Internet telecommunications market grows to be worth an estimated $14.5 billion (£9.5 billion) by 2015, according to Forrester Research.

Microsoft is preparing to take on Cisco, currently the market leader in enterprise communication equipment, by shipping more units of its Lync software. It currently has five million Lync customers - up an impressive three million from just 14 months ago.

The company is planning to offer more Skype-Lync integration this year, with a feature allowing Lync users to make phone calls and access their contact lists through Skype due to be rolled out by this June. Moreover, a Lync app for Windows Phone and iOS will be launched early next month, with an Android version expected to follow in April.