The Wall Street Journal are reporting that Microsoft is close to a deal which would see them acquire Skype for between $7 and $8 Billion. While the internet is quick to jump to conclude this means its a sure thing, in reality the WSJ article explains negotiations aren’t final and could still fall apart.
So lets think about a future where Microsoft do acquire Skype, is that really such a bad idea ? I think not. Many are quick to criticise anything Microsoft does, I believe this is short sighted and fails to look at the potential positives. Microsoft makes Windows Live Messenger for consumers and Lync for business, both of which involve instant message and video calling / conferencing. Precisely the same functionality that Skype offers.
Both platforms bring millions of users to the table, but currently these users are divided. The end result is that two desktop clients are required, along with the associated resources to have conversations with your contacts. If Microsoft do acquire skype, we’re likely to see an integration that would mean users could talk to each other on either.
Microsoft has already integrated Facebook and Yahoo! support to Windows Live Messenger, adding Skype support would be another important piece to the integration puzzle.
Now lets think about the living room implications. Skype is doing some great work getting into the living room on new SmartTVs which are all the rage at the moment. This space is also a favourite for Microsoft with their Xbox 360 and Kinect. Imagine being able to talk to you mum on her new HDTV you bought her for mothers day, while your using Kinect. The potential integration between the two competing platforms could be a wonderful thing for consumers.
I take my glass half full. Time will tell. Are they overpaying.. absolutely.
More info @ Wall Street Journal