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Microsoft buys Skype: what happens next?

With Microsoft falling behind Apple and Google on the telecommunications front, their acquisition of Skype is a big attempt to catch up (see NY Times article).

 

How will Skype change after being taken over by Redmond?  This quote gives a glimpse:

Microsoft, whose growth has been lagging, could find a lucrative revenue stream in selling the service to companies. It might also benefit from placing advertisements on Skype. “There are a lot of great opportunities to optimize Skype services in Microsoft products,” Mr. Ballmer said.

 

I'm sure Bing, Microsoft's search engine, will probably rear its head in Skype in the near future.  Maybe integration with Hotmail? Windows Mobile will be a beneficiary.

 

Over on the Ubuntu Forums, there's a collective sigh of, "Well, that's the end of Skype on Linux" (see thread). Although some dissenters say that Microsoft will ignore Linux, rather than aggressively handicap its Skype client. Active development would cease.

 

Going on another track, this might spur some people to switch to Google Talk or another VOIP app.  A lot of my friends use Gmail already, so changing over to Google Talk would be pretty painless.  Any comments on how well video chat works, compared to Skype?

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Comment by Bully Soares on May 17, 2011 at 9:13pm
Being that I use Skype...DAILY because of the many stakeholders and schools I have to work with. I am looking for another option. Although I have to use as well as support MS Windows and other MS products, I don't like the idea of them getting into my support business (such as it is) Looks like I'll be using my Adium again. I loved Skype until their recent upgrade. I use it on my Mac OSX, iPhone and yes Windows machines. It just works for my purposes! Business, personal, family, friends, the like, it's all good! :) I love that it's FREE and no adware to boot. If MS does what it did to Seavus DropMind mindmapping software, it's going to suck big time! Seavus got so carried away with their MS Office integration they forgot their Open Office user base. A lot of people have moved away from them and going back to Freemind for their mind mapping needs.  Ok that's enough from me! ALOHA! :)
Comment by Doug Wood on May 17, 2011 at 6:26pm
I think Microsoft's strategy regarding Skype is less to do with Skype and more to do with Euros. Microsoft, like Apple and many others, has 10s of Billions of cash on their balance sheet. A significant chunk of that is sitting in Europe from European sales. If they repatriate that cash their is some ridiculous tax penalty. So instead of paying Uncle Sam they just buy European assets, in this case a Luxembourg company, Skype.
Comment by Cameron Souza on May 15, 2011 at 6:22am
I agree with Brian - I don't understand Microsoft's strategy, but I don't think they will bloat the standard Skype client or end support for other platforms. It would be bad for business and bad PR in general. You will probably see other products incorporating Skype (.NET APIs, integration into Sharepoint, use for MS Office collaboration, etc.) rather than a bunch of stuff added to the standard Skype client. In other words, Skype components will probably be added to other MS products rather than the other way around, although I'm sure you will see some small additions.
Comment by Marcus Sortijas on May 14, 2011 at 6:55pm

@Karen: I hadn't thought of the Microsoft bloating up Skype with featuritis.  Do you think they're still stuck in the mindset of Internet portals? 

 

Skype has got some heavy baggage.  Ebay tried and failed to integrate Skype with their business.  Mainly because they forgot to grab the core technology when they bought it.  We'll see if Microsoft has better luck.

Comment by Karen Chun on May 14, 2011 at 4:40pm

I think you are right, Marcus ....and I think those who are concerned that Skype will be crippled on linux may be right too.  sigh...

Google Voice is great but I was assuming that it would not remain free after it got going.

I do think once Microsoft gets its hands on Skype it will go from lean and mean to bloated featuritis but maybe that's just my bad experiences with Microsoft talking.  (I hope!)

Comment by Brian on May 14, 2011 at 1:57am

Seems like the 3 options (not exclusive of each other) are Office 365, Xbox Live, and Windows Mobile.

 

Personally I'm a little confused by the purchase, but I guess I see how they could potentially turn this into something with Xbox Live and a larger messaging strategy.

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