Skype Buys Group Messaging Service GroupMe

Remember how AT&T is killing their non-unlimited SMS plan? The big guess among the rumor mill is that this is a reaction to iMessage, Facebook, and other ways of sending free messages to all your clients and without AT&T’s SMS service. It looks like another big service is getting in on the free text game, as Skype has just bought out GroupMe. We haven’t heard a firm number on the price, but AllThingsD says $85 million and BetaBeat says more than $50 million. GroupMe discussed the buyout on their blog:

This has been a remarkable year for GroupMe, and we believe that this is a big win. And not just a big win for GroupMe and our amazing investors, but also for New York City. As part of the deal, GroupMe will remain in New York, team intact, working on our standalone application. The major difference will be that we will now have access to Skype’s 175 million monthly connected users. 175 million people. That’s a very big deal.

Key point: standalone application. So even though this will doubtless interface with Skype pretty heavily, there will still be a GroupMe app.

Now, if I could just get all of my friends on a single one of these services, I could ditch SMS completely!