Microsoft snapped up Skype on the 9th of May, for a cool $8.5 billion, all-cash transaction. It is Microsoft’s most expensive take over till date. So what does it mean for us mortal humans?
First up, Windows Live Messenger and Skype will probably be merged very soon. So probably all the contacts from one would be transferred to the other, or maybe they’ll just be merged.
Then, there is the fact that Xbox and Kinect has explicitly been mentioned in the agreement. Which probably means out of the box video conferencing with your Xbox Live, Windows Live Messenger as well as Skype contacts.
Skype will probably be integrated into MS Office, for group collaboration on documents with IM, and possible Video Conferencing on the email client, Outlook.
Of course WP7 stands to gain by it too. It will get IM, Video, etc all powered by Skype. Maybe integration into Windows Mobile office is expected too. But, the implications don’t stop here. Microsoft also gets VoIP calling, and with it, it gets a solid “working relationship” chip with the Carriers. They get to flaunt their wares with Nokia, with whom the deal has been inked already. Furthermore, they get to compete against Google Voice as well as Apple’s Facetime.
Microsoft has said in its Press Release, that they will “continue to invest in and support Skype clients on non-Microsoft platforms”. Thats good news for the Mac, Linux, Android and PlayStation guys who use Skype.
And Finally, for the most important factor: Facebook. Keep in mind that Microsoft has a stake in Facebook. Facebook in itself, had a very little or no chance of getting Skype. With Microsoft buying Skype, Facebook not only gets to keep Skype away from Google, but also gets access to Skype access. They will need Skype’s network to offer proper voice and video calling on its 600 million+ network. If Facebook prefers to develop voice and video infrastructure of its own, there would be a learning curve and the cost of operating and developing would be very high. Facebook will probably get more customers for Skype for its SkypeOut service, and you will be able to pay Skype minutes using Facebook Credits. In fact, we have unconfirmed reports that Facebook has already started prompting users to log on to Skype to connect with more friends. So its a win-win-win situation for Microsoft, Skype and Facebook.
Just one lingering question: will Microsoft be able to justify the price in time?