back to article Microsoft poised to make biggest ever buy – Skype

Microsoft is close to buying VoIP service Skype for about $8.5bn. An announcement could come as soon as today according to sources collared by the Wall Street Journal. But the paper cautioned that the deal was not final and may still fall through. The deal would be Microsoft's biggest ever, costing in the region of $8.5bn …

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Jobs Horns

One more bites the dust

I've always admired Skype for what it offered. Either MS will kil it, or make users pay for it. There goes my free long distance vidoe/voice calls.

One of the best innovations of the Interweb era, its a shame MS will kill it ( surely wont keep it free - to recover the 8.5 billion its offering).

How the big boys trample up innovation.

I think MS is bumbling & going the way of Nokia. (bought Navteq - gave it away free when no one wanted it, Bought Symbian, then made it open/free when no one wanted it , spent millions on meego,maemo whatever only to drop it, etc).

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Gold badge

Buying users not technology

Microsoft could easily develop a Skype alternative. I'm pretty sure the MSN Messenger does everything Skype does now, maybe in a slightly different way.

So in effect Microsoft are just buying users. Surely it would work out cheaper to just pay users to use their software?

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Silver badge

Not necessarily

MS never charged for Hotmail or Messenger so why assume they'll charge for Skype. What should be more worrying is there are versions of Skype for Linux, OS X, Android, PSP, Symbian and the iPhone. From a strategic standpoint it makes little sense to help other operating systems with an app as ubitquitous as Skype.

It's possible that MS will do their usual of proclaiming cross platform support and then allowing the non-Windows platforms to bitrot and die. Then they'll discontinue support entirely and lamely claim it was all down to a lack of consumer interest.

I also wouldn't want to be someone working in their Windows Live Messenger group. It's obvious which IM client is going to get the chop or sidelined if MS splash out on Skype.

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Heart

Pricey, but it's part of their 'Integration' plan

Yeah, it's about users and branding.

BUT, M$' Live Messenger doesn't have the call payment aspect of Skype. That is one difference - Live Messenger is free.

M$ tried to introduce (payed) calls a while back, but ended it, presumably due to users not willing to pay for this service. Skype users have no problem with this.

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@Giles

MS already have an alternative, OCS. It is one of the few things MS has managed to do right (although only allowing you to store conversation in Outlook is a PITA). Want multi-party video conferencing? Done. You do need to run a server though.

I agree - this is just about buying the user base.

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Success...

I'm sure it'll be a stellar success and provide MS with massive amounts of income far exceeding what they're paying, just like all their great products such as windows phone and.. hmm.

In terms of money spent on development etc apart from Windows and Office has MS ever actually made an actual net profit on anything? Granted in the last year or two MS has been making money on the xbox division, but no way have they made back the amount they invested in both Xbox's.

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Grenade

Google

Apart from selling adverts has it really made any money on anything?

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Silver badge

Re: Google

Google is an ad-broker. Selling adverts is what it does, and it makes lots of money from selling them. Everything else it does is a way to get people to their site to view those ads, just like a what TV or radio station does.

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FAIL

What do you mean by 'anything'?

Are you looking just at their consumer offerings, or do you mean their broad range of server and middleware products? I think they've probably made some greenbacks out of SQL Server, Exchange, et al... ;-)

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Anonymous Coward

What a great day this must be

for everyone on the Messenger team

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Heart

Not really

Live Messenger is huge!

It has 330 million active users - M$ are not going to exchange this service for Skype.

More likely, they will integrate Skype into Windows Live (which also includes Messenger) - Skype has a few features that Messenger lacks - plus it's about the brand and increasing the Windows Live user base (Xbox Live, Windows Phone, Office, Messenger).

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Silver badge

Bye-bye...

It wasn't worth 2billion when Ebay bought it, it isn't worth 8 billion now.

Microsoft are looking increasingly directionless.

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Go

It was not worth 2B for Ebay, it may be worth 8B for MSFT

Ebay had no use to it. Kapalu Charshi haggling is much better done via messages instead of in-person.

Microsoft has _LOTS_ of use to it.

The cellular networks are at a turning point. Up till now voice, video, etc were all tightly integrated into Layer2. With LTE it all goes IP. However in theory the operators are supposed to start controlling everything via IMS and enforce using the relevant Evolved Packet Core functionality.

This gives the phone OS and phone vendors the option of "My Way or the Highway".

If a phone is to do voice over LTE it will have to do IMS. If it does IMS, everything - media, applications, breath in, breath out goes under operator control. Nothing of importance will be controlled by the user or the OS vendor. The phone vendor and the phone OS vendor will see diddly squat in revenues as the billing will become 100% operator centric and they need that money to recoup infrastructure and license investment.

That is why Google keeps investing into Google Voice and Apple invested into Facetime. Microsoft has no such investment. When the day comes and LTE arrives it was largely expected to cave in and go the "My Way". In fact a lot of people in Nokia (especially in the NSN part) all the way to VP level were quietly salivating at the perspective of MSFT contracting the IMS bug through the Nokia aliance. Here is an answer to them. Balmer showed them exactly what does he think of that idea and exactly how much does he value the option of having full control.

Unless Microsoft builds a framework for voice or buys one it can pretty much forget about any revenue from Windows Mobile except basic licensing. IMO that is worth _WAY_ more than 8Bn.

Now will it work and will MSFT be able to deliver on it is another matter. However as far as the business need - it does have it.

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Linux

Microsoft Buys Skype ...

mass Exodus follows ....

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Linux

Too right...

For its faults, one of Skype's USPs is the sheer breadth of platforms it has released a client for. Not just the usual Win/Mac Hobson's Choice, but Linux, Android, Symbian, etc., as well as various hardware devices (if all this goes through, I'll be doubly glad I didn't cough up for Asus' Skype videophone).

Make no mistake: if MS Borgs Skype, sooner or later we can kiss goodbye to any other Skype clients aside from Windows (and possibly a grudging Mac version lagging way behind). If there is a Skype rival offering Internet video-calling between desktops/laptops and mobiles (inc. Symbian), this could well be your moment.

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Bronze badge

There is

and it is called QQ.

Primarily a Chinese IM program it finally released ver1.0 for international users last year, having been in beta for about 3 years!!!!

The video is not as advanced as Skype, but it has an interesting mix of services and tools, including 50MB+ per email via QQ mail

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you could take a look at

linphone - http://www.linphone.org/

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gone

we used to use Skype at work: worked fine for team conferences between UK and US. Then we switched to OCS (Outlook's IM and VoIP solutuion) and we do have occasional outages, it's just a bit more annoying and less functonal, but more "corporate".

Now watch Skype go down the drain as well.

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FAIL

Expect an API change then

to sure Skype no longer works on PSP and other non-Microsoft hardware....

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Why

I can't really see what benefit this will bring to MS. Tighter integration into WinPho? So what? That'll just annoy the networks who still need to sell those lovely profitable voice minutes. However much you may hate the carriers, they're still the biggest channel for mobile.

And better integrated Skype is hardly going to be a key differentiator for WinPho. For Skype to maintain it's dominance of VoIP, you need the network effect of millions of users -- so it'll have to stay cross-platform.

At least Skype have saved MS the bother of ruining the Skype for Mac UI. One less thing on the 'to do' list for Fat Steve.

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Silver badge

Re: Why

They can bring actual integration to Windows Phone. Never mind better, Skype isn't available on WinPho at the moment, and the old discontinued Windows Mobile app was pretty useless.

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Unhappy

Please no.

I remember liking hotmail.

Maybe now I'll see if the people behind Ekiga have figured out how to make it work for people who use routers.

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they haven't

I wonder how long the ekiga guys can keep going and still not get there

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Not routers

NAT

NAT's always the problem with stuff like this.

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Happy

stun.sipserver.domain

I've got Sipdroid, Linphone and CSipSimple on my Android all working fine behind my NAT router at home and over 3G.

My laptop running Arch Linux connects Linphone, Ekiga and Twinkle behind the same router.

Is it stun.ekiga.net that is missing from your config?

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Read the ekiga code and stop wondering

Just read the code. And weep.

No state machine design to speak of.

Hang up is call dialogue _window_ specific and you do not have a hang-up event in the main loop. As a result there is no way to hang-up a call via any of the interfaces it offers like d-bus. So integrating it to anything is out of the question. Similarly, exit, etc cannot clean/up hang-up for same reason.

It is windows app like code - written around an event loop which is GUI bound. Ugly. Unstable. And impossible to integrate. There is no way you can "get it". You have to rewrite it.

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Stop

Oh dear god

no. No no no no no. No. Just no.

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Hope no

I hope that Skype will be bought by someone else, not MicroSoft, if it will become part of Microsoft then I will not use Skype any more.

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Thumb Down

Cutting your nose off, eh?

/I'll/ use it if it does what I want for the price I'm prepared to pay. I couldn't give a rat's knackers about the company behind it.

I make decisions based on cost and functionality not partisan politics.

Microsoft have been providing me(*) with functionality and a career for nearly a quarter of a century. I see no particular reason to turn my back on them.

(*)And probably 90% of the world's population.

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Silver badge

Sony Syndrome

I'm afraid you've caught Sony syndrome, where you support a company because you like a particular instance of a product and are prepared to write off all manner of other evils because they are done "elsewhere" and not to you personally. That works really well until one day, that companies methods come back to bite you hard - sure, you can jump ship, but the point was that other people saw it coming. Your experience *so far* is okay but you're not listening to others who have been stung as a matter of course by their dealings with MS.

What you're saying is: If I buy a cake from the local baker's, and it's what I want at the price I'm prepared to pay, I don't care who the baker is. A fine sentiment, until you hear that baker's been banned form producing food in several other places for poor hygiene, using dangerous ingredients, blowing his nose on the currant buns, etc. Ignorance is bliss - but some people won't give money to a company on principle even if a particular instance of a particular product was okay for them.

And MS have been providing me with a career too - usually fixing their crap that doesn't work. In fact, most of my pay is directly derived from MS stuff not working how it should. It doesn't mean I want more of their crap not to work to create more work for me.

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Gates Horns

Re: Sony Syndrome

Totally agree with the sentiments expressed. When the chimps dig up some remains of human civilisation in ten million years AD and try to figure out why it all went down the toilet, I don't think they'd be satisfied with the response that in its final days, half the populace were struggling to reconnect the Great Savour of Mankind's print server, powered by Microsoft Windows.

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Gates Halo

Strangely...

As a regular Skype user, I'm reassured by the possibility of MS buying Skype.

Facebook or Google as potential owners had made me assume that all privacy would be surrendered and I would have to look for an alternative.

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auto start icon

At least Microsoft might be able to sort out the ridiculous way that skype starts up as taskbar application rather than minimised to the system tray.

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It's possible...

I have managed to get Skype down to an icon rather than just a minimised window, but it wasn't particularly obvious in the options.

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Linux

Depends on the client

The Linux client by default minimises to the Systray, and only jumps into the taskbar if you open a window (contacts, chats, video etc.)

As with other Linux users, let's hope that if the deal does go through, support (and development!) for non Microsoft / Apple platforms continues...

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This is a great shame.

And probably will be the death of a much loved product.

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TRT
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FAIL

Oh Christ, no!

Skype's about the only thing left I use now!

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Doh!

Why are you stil refering to Windows Mobile while that product is depreciated?

By using the wrong productnames in these articles you undermine the credibility of these articles.

To make it clear.

pre-2011: Pocket PC --> Windows Mobile (depreciated OS)

2011: Windows Phone 7 (New mobile OS with Zune-like UI)

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WTF?

Grief...

"pre-2011: Pocket PC --> Windows Mobile....bla bla"

Yea, whatever.

It's "Windows" and it's (apparently) for use on "Mobile" devices. Live with it.

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Flame

'Zune-like UI'?

As in -'rarely seen outside the US'

Sounds about right...

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RE: Grief

You can't "live" with it because software is INCOMPATIBLE between the 2!!!

So please stop calling Windows Phone 7: "Windows Mobile". It isn't!

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WTF?

WM third?

In what area does it get that high?

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Silver badge

Re: WM third

In the corporate market, typically on machines with barcode scanners, and some times a small thermal printer. For example, when a courier delivers a parcel, the thing you sign on is quite often a Windows Mobile device. The stock check computers in Tesco run Windows Mobile. Another example is the machines used by Traffic Wardens.

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Also the guards on the trains (in the nw)

...have little HP PDAs running Window Mobile attached to mobile ticket printing gizmos.

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Windows Mobile (6.5) isn't dead...

... its just been rebranded as Windows Embedded Handheld (6.5).

http://www.microsoft.com/windowsembedded/en-us/evaluate/windows-embedded-handheld.aspx

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8.5bn?

Doesn't seem like a very good deal if EBay sold it for $1.9. I'd be interested to know who ran the private equity firm that owns it, because it looks to me like they are making a suspiciously large profit at MS's expense.

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Gates Horns

MS/Skype

I really am concerned at this news.

It took long enough to get Skype to produce an effective Linux Client.

I can just see the "evil empire" keeping the existing Linux client and then as the product develops easing the linux version out because "it is no longer compatible.".

I can also see the "evil empire" also trying to turn itself into the "world's" phone network. Free Computer to Computer Calls will go!

With Google dominating search, Facebook social media and Microsoft voice communications, the world Interweb really is becoming dominated by a small cartel of US controlled IT companies.

We really do need companies like Amazon.com, baidu.com, yahoo japan etc. to start fighting back internationally and offer competitive products.

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Coat

Get over it

>It took long enough to get Skype to produce an effective Linux Client

Yeah and what good it do them? Skype is pretty much a failing business model and as a result likely to be a failing company sooner rather than later. If MS abandon support for other OSes then you lose Skype..but from the sound of it you'd be losing it anyway when it collapsed.

At least this way there's a possibility that MS might be able to make it pay its way and some users (probably the majority) will still be able to benefit from it. I'm sorry if you're one of the unfortunate minority who lose out but that's the way the world works. Free products are all very well but they don't put food in your mouth nor a roof over your head. Sooner or later everything has to prove its value to the bankers or die.

It sucks but it ain't gonna change any time soon.

Mine's the one with the corporate pay slip in the pocket.

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Joke

Re: Get over it

"Mine's the one with the corporate pay slip in the pocket."

We get it: you like the "tough talk" of the "real business world". Suit up or oil up. We know you like it that way. Sheesh!

"Sooner or later everything has to prove its value to the bankers or die."

Sooner or later the bankers have to prove their value to everyone or die. (Please refer to "joke" icon as context for this remark, your honour.)

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Excellent

With luck they'll both go down together and thats two roadblocks on the info-highway removed in one go,.

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