So, today it all went down. There were rumours floating around since Sunday that either Facebook, Google or Microsoft were going to snap up Skype. Commence a flurry of observations and comments as to why one or the other would/should buy Skype.
Fast forward to Tuesday and it’s all a done deal. Microsoft have purchased Skype for some $8 billion in cash. A hefty sum to pay, considering eBay sold Skype to a bunch of investors for only $2 billion only 2 years ago. They have had some awesome growth since then however, and have delivered new functionality to the market like video calling from the desktop to the mobile.
There were blog posts and news articles everywhere saying it was soon to come and each was speculating on why this is strategic for Microsoft, how it will affect consumers and what will happen to Skype when they become part of Redmond. This all cumulated in a press release and live conference this afternoon (London time) that announced a few things:
- Skype will connect users with Lync, Office 365, Outlook (does this mean a Skype Outlook add-in?) Windows Live and Xbox Kinect.
- Enhance Lync for our enterprise customers (interoperate with Skype).
- Continued commitment to non-Microsoft platforms for Skype.
- An entirely new business division will be created under the current Skype CEO’s (Tony Bates) leadership “Microsoft Skype Division” and Bates will become the President of this division, reporting directly to Steve Ballmer.
Here’s an interesting question, what will happen to David Gurle the current head of Skype’s Business division? He’s a previous Microsoft employee, and he used to head up the LCS team in Microsoft. Will he want to stick around and bring some value or will he jump ship quick smart?
Also, what will the Lync interoperability look like? Will it be via the Edge Server? That’s the obvious integration point really. They need to deliver every communications modality, not just IM and audio/video. What about archiving and compliance? Security? I can only see this interoperability being delivered in a new version of Lync.
With 600 million users registered and 30 million online at any one time, that’s a huge population of users to connect the existing business communications (running Lync) world to.
It means that any seat in any business and any home can connect to each other using IM, audio/video or collaboration. Not to mention people running Xbox Live with Kinect. Now that’s a pretty exciting nirvana to look forward to.