Google Snaps Up Skype Engineers After Microsoft Disbands Stockholm Office (EXCLUSIVE)

google duo
Courtesy of Google

Google has hired a number of key Skype engineers following Microsoft’s decision to close its office in Sweden’s capital Stockholm, Variety has learned. The new hires are likely going to help Google with its real-time communication services, which includes its corporate Meet video-conferencing service as well as its Duo video chat app.

Google didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

The exact number of hires is unknown, but apparently in the double digits. A source with knowledge of the move told Variety that Google interviewed the majority of engineers at the location, and that almost everyone who ended up getting a job offer accepted it.

Microsoft employed a total of 120 people in its Stockholm office, but announced in March that it would close down the facility. The software giant had acquired the voice and video calling app for $8.5 billion in 2011, and has since turned Skype into its main real-time communications app. However, Microsoft has laid off a number of Skype employees in recent years, including 520 in 2016, when it closed down its London office and reduced Skype staff in Redmond.

Skype was originally founded some 14 years ago by Niklas Zennstrom and Janus Friis, the Northern European duo that had previously launched the file sharing software Kazaa. Ebay acquired Skype for $2.6 billion in 2005. It changed hands again in 2009 when private investors, including its two original inventors, bought a 70% stake from Ebay, before eventually selling it to Microsoft in 2011.

Google itself has had mixed success in the space that Skype has long occupied. The company tried for some time to consolidate all of its chat, voice and video apps under the Hangouts banner, but more recently launched a number of separate apps for consumers and businesses, including its text chat app Allo and its video chat app Duo.