Microsoft has announced on 10th May that it bought Skype for $8.5 billion (roughly £5bn). The deal values Skype at around $13 for each of its 600 million registered users and there is every chance that such a deal will have an impact on the IT market. Skype is extremely widely used on pcs and mobiles alike - it will be interesting to see whether apps such as Skype for i-phone, with windows 7 phone really focused on competing against apple, will now stand the test of time?
Sure you can use one of a number of alternatives such as Google Talk but that will take multiple users setting up new accounts. The key to Skype's domination is the number of users with accounts is streets ahead of the competition.
Microsoft have decided to create a new, separate Skype business division, with Skype CEO Tony Bates as President. Bates will report directly to Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer. At the press conference they discussed the obvious links between its own communications offerings, including Lync, Outlook, IM, Hotmail and Xbox Live with Skype.
Such integration is sure to help products like Windows 7 phone as well as adding a 'free' (no one pays $13 per user for nothing) social service to their portfolio - something they have perhaps not taken as seriously as an outlet in comparison to the likes of Google and Facebook.
“Skype will support Microsoft devices like Xbox and Kinect, Windows Phone and a wide array of Windows devices, and Microsoft will connect Skype users with Lync, Outlook, Xbox Live and other communities. Microsoft will continue to invest in and support Skype clients on non-Microsoft platforms,” said the release.
This is apparently the largest acquisition Microsoft has ever made - the value of $13 per user perhaps being exacerbated by competition from Facebook and Google. It would seem to make sense that there was a major play in progress given these facts.
I'm purely speculating but Skype along with Microsoft could offer both business and domestic telephone services along with their other products. Such unification would put Microsoft in a very strong position as it would add massive value to some level of Microsoft subscription. Although expensive - this could turn out to be a very shrewd acquisition by Microsoft.