Luxembourg – Bloomberg reported Sunday that Internet telephone service Skype has fired senior executives in preparation for its $8.5 billion acquisition by Microsoft (NASD:MSFT).

Skype confirmed on Monday that eight executives have left the company but did not say whether the executives were laid off or resigned.

Bloomberg cited three people familiar with the matter in suggesting that the executives were fired before the deal closes to reduce the value of their payout since their stock options will be worth less than if the executives stayed until the closing.

Microsoft announced its acquisition of Skype on May 10 and plans to have Skype support Microsoft’s Xbox and Kinect game systems, Windows Phone and other devices, and the company’s Outlook, Lync and other communities.  Microsoft has also pledged to continue to invest in and support Skype clients on non-Microsoft platforms.

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