Microsoft-Skype deal | Microsoft brought Skype | Bussiness News

A long-term rumor became a done deal Tuesday morning: Microsoft is buying Skype, the one video chat service that’s become ubiquitous enough to have forced an update to the classic lament: all over the world, retired women complain to their hairdressers that their kids never Skype them any more.

The deal (which will cost Microsoft $8.5 billion) affects three groups.

It’s good news for Microsoft. This isn’t like HP’s acquisition of Palm, where a company writes a big check and hey presto, they’ve just expanded their business. Instead, Skype will become the universal table seasoning that will improve the flavor of just about everything Microsoft has got going:

The Xbox will get Skype, and will continue its quiet and relentless progress towards becoming “the home appliance computer.”

Microsoft’s search, Outlook, Messenger, and Office products will integrate personal and business conferencing. Developers of Microsoft products will surely get new tools for adding chat, voice, and video conferencing to their apps.

It also helps out Windows Phone, which is still crawling unsteady towards credibility. Expect tight Skype integration with Microsoft’s new handset OS.

Microsoft will also, incidentally, be acquiring an enormous international database of who knows whom. I’d normally be worried. But unlike Google and Facebook, Microsoft hasn’t really figured out how to monetize evil yet.

So: multiple wins for Microsoft here…and it, um, only cost them $8.5 billion dollars.

Existing Skype desktop users shouldn’t expect any kind of changes: Skype will become a new unit inside of Microsoft, retaining its original CEO.

The one real variable: What happens with Skype apps on the operating systems that Microsoft doesn’t control? It’s hard to imagine Microsoft ending support for the MacOS, iPhone, and Android editions of its clients, but at this writing, neither company has commented on how many, if any, of Skype’s existing engineers will be joining the Microsoft dental plan. Microsoft has some experience building MacOS apps (Office for Mac is a perennial best-seller, and it already includes Windows Messenger) but Windows Live clients for iOS and Android have been, shall we say, decidedly unambitious.

We can only wonder. It’ll take some time for Microsoft to demonstrate whether their true focus for Skype is to keep it going as the international standard for multiplatform chat, or if it’s just a way for the Bing search engine to figure out “Hey, Andy might be interested in seeing the same sort of ads we showed his Skype friend Kevin…”

No comments:

Post a Comment