Top tech headlines: Microsoft buys Skype, Chromebooks, Facebook smear campaign against Google

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The Independent Tech

Hot topics in the tech blogs for the week ending May 13 include Microsoft’s acquisition of Skype, announcements from Google’s developer conference, Google’s future computers, Facebook's smear campaign against Google and the Chrome Web Store goes international.

Microsoft acquisition of Skype
Microsoft announced it would buy internet communications company Skype in an $8.5 billion deal. Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer described the deal as the start of "exciting times" but web users and analysts were not so keen on the partnership, believing Microsoft had paid too much for the company.

Google I/O first day announcements

Google hosted its annual developer conference, Google I/O, this week and used it as a platform to introduce Android@home and Google Music Beta. The company also shared new figures about its mobile and tablet operating system, Android. According to Google there are now 400,000 new Android devices activated every day, the Android Market now sports around 200,000 free and paid applications, and users have installed 4.5 billion applications from the Android Market on their Android devices.

Chromebooks
Google took the wraps off its Samsung and Acer manufactured Chromebook laptops. Google’s "computers for the future" don’t run computer programs, they don’t have a desktop, they don’t need anti-virus software and they don’t keep a backup of your files stored on the hard drive. Instead, the web-centric laptops rely on cloud computing and web apps to complete common computing tasks.

Facebook looses face in 'clumsy smear' campaign against Google

Facebook was left in an embarrassing situation this week after it was revealed the company hired well known PR firm Burson Marsteller to "pitch anti-Google stories to newspapers." Facebook’s smear campaign "is not just offensive, dishonest and cowardly. It’s also really, really dumb," wrote TechCrunch’s Michael Arrington. Bloggers around the web added that it would be very hard to trust Facebook again after this stunt.

Chrome Web Store launches internationally

Google announced that it would expand its Chrome Web Store to include all of its 160 million Chrome browser users around the globe. The store will be available in 41 languages. Developers were also pleased to hear that Google had set a flat 5 percent fee for any applications sold within the store.

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