The aftermath of Microsoft's announcement that it'll buy Skype for $8.5 billion
was filled with speculation about why the price was so high, who Microsoft was bidding against
, and who inside Redmond was the driving force behind such a large expenditure. At least one of those queries has been demystified today, thanks to Bill Gates asserting himself as "a strong proponent at the board level for the deal being done." Microsoft's Chairman of the Board expressed his enthusiasm for gobbling up Skype in an interview with the BBC -- one which UK residents may see in full at the iPlayer link below -- and concluded that "it's a great purchase that a lot of innovation will come out of." Adding his support to Steve Ballmer's already public excitement about the Skype takeover, Bill stresses that "the importance of software is higher today than ever," while also predicting that video conferencing is set to become much better and bigger than we've yet seen. We've got our webcams at the ready, Bill!