Microsoft Corp. is close to a deal to buy Internet phone company Skype Technologies SA for between $7 billion and $8 billion. According to the WSJ report, the final price might go closer to $8 billion.

Google and Facebook were also interested in the acquisition of Skype, which put off its IPO earlier this year to buy more negotiating time. A deal could be announced as early as Tuesday, people familiar with the matter said, though they cautioned that negotiations aren’t yet final and a deal could still fall apart. Including Skype’s long-term debt, the total value of the deal is about $8.5 billion.

At a value close to $8 billion, the Skype deal would rank as the biggest acquisition in the 36-year history of Microsoft.

Skype uses a technology called voice over Internet protocol, which treats calls as data like email messages and routes them over the Internet, rather than a traditional phone network.

Skype could play a role in Microsoft’s effort to turn around its fortunes in the mobile-phone market, an area where it has lagged badly behind rivals Apple and Google.

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