Microsoft close to buying Skype for more than $7 billion? (Update: announcement tomorrow)

Following rumors of Facebook and Google eyeing a deal to acquire Skype, we now have a new contender who is none other than the beast from Redmond, Microsoft. According to the Wall Street Journal's sources, Team Ballmer and the VoIP company are finalizing a negotiation that's worth more than a whopping $7 billion, and they could be making an announcement as soon as Tuesday. Given that this figure will be a new record for Microsoft in recent years, it's clear that Ballmer's very keen on securing this popular voice calling service for his own amusement -- perhaps Windows Phone will eventually come with integrated Skype features? Or maybe he just wants to slot in some ads between our calls? Only time will tell, and for the sake of Redmond, hopefully nothing turns sour between now and tomorrow.

Update: All Things D's Kara Swisher has confirmed that the two companies will be announcing their deal early tomorrow morning. Stay tuned!