Our sources have confirmed that Microsoft has agreed to buy the voice-over-Internet company Skype for $8.5 billion, including the assumption of debt.

“Skype is a phenomenal service that is loved by millions of people around the world,” said Microsoft Chief Executive Steve Ballmer in a statement announcing the deal Tuesday. “Together we will create the future of real-time communications so people can easily stay connected to family, friends, clients and colleagues anywhere in the world.”

Skype will become a new business division within Microsoft, with Skype CEO Tony Bates assuming the title of president of the Microsoft Skype Division, reporting to Ballmer.

“Microsoft and Skype share the vision of bringing software innovation and products to our customers,” said Bates. “Together, we will be able to accelerate Skype’s plans to extend our global community and introduce new ways for everyone to communicate and collaborate.”