iFive: Microsoft-Skype Deal, Google’s Music Starts Today, Foursquare Tries NFC, Tumblr’s “Share” Button, Twitter Adds Pay Tweets

It’s a busy Tuesday morning already–here’s what’s been going on in the news:

1. Microsoft is poised to announce, maybe later this morning, that the rumored acquisition of Skype is actually true. New hints suggest the price may have pushed as high as $8.5 billion, and Microsoft is obviously imagining how Skype will plug into its enterprise offerings. But let’s not forget the Kinect motion-sensing and person-tracking camera system, which could become Skype’s killer peripheral.


2. In other huge news, word from inside Google suggests it’s pushing ahead with its music locker/cloud-streaming service…but without all the requisite label deals in place (something Apple is, apparently, well on top of). Music Beta will work on any web browser with Flash support, or through dedicated Android apps, and apparently Google’s signed enough deals so that users will gain free tracks as a bonus.

3. Google’s IO conference starts today, and Foursquare has seized the opportunity to try an NFC experiment of its own, so visitors will be able to check in at the location using NFC-enabled smartphones by merely waving their phone over a Foursquare poster. As a reward they’ll get a special Google IO-Foursquare badge, but the real benefit goes to Google and Foursquare (which has been testing the system in its offices) who’ll get access to all the data.

4. Tumblr, the rapidly growing micro-blogging service, is taking a leaf from Facebook‘s playbook and has launched a “Share” button. The button works within Tumblr itself, so it’s “share on Tumblr” rather than “share with the world” but it’s still likely to boost the networks existing interactivity between users and establish an even more deeply connected social network.

5. Twitter is gaining a handy new trick from Flattr that could transform how its users see the lifeblogging/sharing system: Flattr is a micropayments app, now connecting up to Twitter’s API, and effectively it’ll transform Tweets into a virtual cash transfer machine. All you’d have to do is send a specially coded tweet, which is something that happens billions of times each day already–meaning it’s a “low entry energy” system with few mental barriers to starting to use it.

Chat about this news with Kit Eaton on Twitter and Fast Company too.

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