Microsoft confirmed today that it has indeed bought Skype from an investor group led by Silver Lake for $8.5bn. The software giant said the buyout of Luxembourg-based Skype's technology would "enhance" Microsoft's current portfolio of real-time communications products and services. In a statement Microsoft emphasised that its …
"Meanwhile, Skype's 170 million users will be hooked up to Microsoft's Lync, Outlook and Xbox Live products, as well as other communities, said the software vendor."
Thanks, I was looking for the reason that would stop me using it almost immediately the rumours were confirmed. I *just* about tolerated the "Windows Live" stuff when my Hotmail account was sold to them, and I haven't used Windows Live for ANYTHING else since.
I'd say - less than 3 months before I'm made to change my Skype account to a Live (or whatever) account, and about the same until the client just bugs you forever about joining communities you have no interest in ever joining.
"“Skype is a phenomenal service that is loved by millions of people around the world,” said Ballmer.
“Together we will create the future of real-time communications so people can easily stay connected to family, friends, clients and colleagues anywhere in the world.”"
Well it would be nice to have more software multi platform, but I have to agree with you (Since I got 3 downvotes :'( ), the day Linux users will see an MS Skype message they'll get rid (Unless they start screaming and melting) and go for something else that has nothing to do with MS.
I don't think it's the Linux users who will run, but rather that Microsoft will eventually decide that Skype on Linux doesn't help them cling to their "fat client" business model. One day soon, they are going to come to the realisation that they are sad on the "clinging to an outdated business model" front as the RIAA/MPAA. Then they will "trim the fat," "reorganise" and "adjust the company direction." Which doesn't actually mean what it's supposed to mean.
Instead, it means they will litigate like mad, expend quite literally billions of dollars trying to make using anything that isn’t their outdated business model illegal, flail around and generally piss into the wind for about a decade. Part of this will be pissing away yet more bore billions of dollars to do nothing more than try to thwart other companies whose business models adapted and whose thinking processes aren’t antiquated.
Eventually they’ll spiral the drain quicker and quicker, selling off pieces of themselves and giving huge golden parachutes to their few remaining executives before finally becoming a footnote in a textbook somewhere as the shrivelled carcass is bought by someone else for nothing more than their patent hoard.
Just like so many others in the IT world who couldn’t adapt.
Linux is the EMENY here. They aren’t going to get support from Microsoft. They can promise everything they want, but eventually Skype will be passed off to someone who sees Linux as a direct threat to a business model that should have died half a decade ago, and it will be taken out back and shot.
In case you hadn’t been paying attention, Microsoft is in a “death spiral.” The lynchpin to their entire empire – the integration of Office into absolutely everything – is slowly becoming less and less critical. Their competitors are building “good enough” stacks of products that are not only integrated, they are multi platform, require a tenth the resources and work entirely through a browser.
Microsoft will take a while to die, but – barring a miracle that gets rid of Ballmer – die they will. Companies in death spirals do not offer support for rival platforms.
But I fear that the Beast has much up its sleeve - including massive amounts of money to throw at whatever (or whomever) it takes to survive. Also, morals and ethics have never gotten in the way of Microsoft's style of doing business.
Microsoft is too big to fail - but opposite the way that we've recently seen other companies and entities deemed to be the same. MS is too big to fail because they have too MUCH money, enough to buy their way out of just about anything.
"Microsoft would 'continue to invest in and support Skype clients in Non-Microsoft platforms.' In other words, Mac and Linux versions of the VoIP service will still be developed by the team, but presumably the main focus will be on Windows support from here on in."
I'm guessing that's putting it quite mildly, an attempt to calm down the Mac- and Penguinheads spooling up for a storm. The reality, in time, will be quite different. This Penguinhead will be enjoying what I'm sure will be a crippled version of Skype when compared to what the Win7 kids get to play with.
I'm not entirely sure why Microsoft has done this, let alone splashed out 8.5 billion on this.
It's effectively obsoleting their Messenger and Lync services, given that Skype has a pretty robust text based talk system, in addition to the phone capabilities. It's also going to cause friction with carriers that Microsoft are trying to persuade to take up more Windows smartphones. Then there's the question of revenue as well - a relatively small percentage of Skype's users pay for the additional features of the service and while it could be argued that advertising will bring in some funds, it's also going to drive people away as well.
There's an interesting article on those very questions just here..
..I wonder how much of the asking price was budgeted just to stop Google getting hold of it ?
Skype is an enabler on other platforms( ie not Windows ) and as such by purchasing it and removing it from the choices for those platforms they weaken those platforms.
It's really easy to know why Microsoft does things if you first consider how what they are doing protects the Windows market. Remember, Microsoft's efforts against Netscape was because Netscape was an enabler(cross platform browser ), Java was an enabler for developers(cross platform software), Flash is an enabler for web apps(cross platform). I've only seen one case where they went and bought or fought a Windows only product and that was Visio.
Skype is cross platform and currently "the" name in web video conferencing so by removing that from the options on other platforms, they strengthen their hold with Windows. As for the phones, they could hand the dead body of Skype out to the phone carriers to show Microsoft is a friend.
skull-cross swords because it's a hijacking and plunder in progress.
Is it just me M$ do things to annoy?
I was so proud of the fact that Skype on my Linux boxes worked great whatever the OS at the other end was.
The real impact to me will be the fact that my family abroad will not be moving to Linux anytime soon.
M$ say they'll support non-M$ clients but for how long?
I also fear that the Open Source alternatives will not have the user base to attract the masses who are increasingly bullied it seems into integrating their entire lives into the M$ fold.
This is another bad day for the independent IT innovators, RIP Skype I hope your slow death isn't as painful as Nokia's.
Say what you want about Google and Apple but if it wasn't for them we'd all be Borg by now...
Apple are the most locked-down technology company there is out there, there is *only* the Apple way as far as they are concerned.
Google don't care so much as long as they can watch what you do, when you do it, where you do it from, how you do it, and why you do it - and push adverts your way.
Fine, we get it, many people don't like Microsoft.
Anyone who goes for their services based around the cost vs what the product delivers and doesn't childishly say OHNOEZZITSTEHEVILM$!!! would look at this and consider that Skype might possibly become bigger and better.
It's already been made abundantly clear that the Skype client development will remain, so that's not an issue. Skype will have the cash-rich MS to help shore up and improve it's infrastructure as well as bring in the masses of Live users, connecting them all together.
I know how these comments sections have generally been squatted by the Linux/Android/Google fanbois over recent months, but really - do you honestly think that the ad-deliverer Google will give you free voice calls without pumping an advert at you every time you make a call? Do you really think that anything you say or do through a Google service will not be monitored and pushed through behavioural analysis in order to pump more ads your way?
I'm not massively pro-MS, but I'd take their structure and (legally enforced) privacy rules over Google and their 'open' (bullsh*t it's open) systems, their spying, tracking and advertising any day.
Microsoft will continue to allow development of Skype clients for other non-Microsoft platforms then I don't need to read the rest of your post.
Oh, I had a good laugh at your "legally enforced" stuff. Thanks for entertaining me! As for spying, ask yourself why Windows Media Player connects to Microsoft as soon as you finish playing a file.
Those of us who have been in the industry as long as Microsoft know full well that there is not a single product or service that Microsoft has acquired which they haven't crippled, gutted, or turned to absolute crap within 18 months. Not one! And while those of us who have (more or less) happily used Skype for years don't know exactly _what_ Microsoft will do to it, we know that it won't be good for anyone but (possibly) Microsoft stockholders.
>> I'm not massively pro-MS
Your MS astroturfing works well in non-tech forums where consumers don't necessarily live and breathe IT issues but it just aren't very effective on sites like here, Ars, etc.
>> Fine, we get it, many people don't like Microsoft.
Just the way you phrased your first sentence is a tip-off. In the general public's eye, which often has a very short memory, that's a nice way to start off your statements. But most of us know MS has a well-documented and sadly consistent history full of reasons WHY we don't like MS.
I know Google is not free (as in beer or freedom), you pay for it in ads and monitoring, and they keep portions of it close to their chest. Skype is only free (as in beer) for skype to skype calls. I paid them good money so I could call landlines. What bothers me is that MS has a bad reputation for screwing people and products. I now wonder if the Skype half of my General Electric Dect 6.0 cordless telephone will continue to function into the future. I'll be a cynic and say "probably not, better start looking for a replacement".
Yes I use Linux but could just as easily use FreeBSD, it really doesn't matter to me. My cell phone is android based and I own an android tablet. I also use Windows, although not in any capacity for business... just to keep my hand in so I can fix other peoples problems (for which I charge them a fee). So yes I bought Windows 2K, XP Pro, and 7 (I skipped Vista) and they all run happily in virtual environments on my Linux machine (whatever distro I happen to be using at the time). The point is no one locks me in... ever... Commodore had me with the Amiga and that was the last time I was a fan of any one manufacturer. On a side note Palm once had me as a customer until they screwed me and I ended up with a really neat $800.00 paperweight called a Life-Drive.
I now purchase hardware that works and is so generic that the manufacturer could go belly up tomorrow and it wouldn't affect me one iota. When I spend my hard-earned money it must be on something that is reliable, well made, and not dependent on recurring-fees or the original manufacturer to continue using it.
Some products I will never buy are things like the Playstation, XBox, Wii (although a friend owns one), anything Apple (although they make nice stuff), no Microsoft software (but I do have one of their Ergonomic keyboards... only because I couldn't find a Belkin (which has better placement of the cursor keys etc.)), and no Blackberry.
I used to use Microsoft's Messenger quite a bit to keep in touch with family members. The video, speech and text capabilities were adequate for what I used it for. For business, except for the early days, it has been almost exclusively Skype. Especially since my main day-to-day system became a Mac. The Mac clients for Messenger and the open source clones could not hack video. Like a lot of the people commenting, I have never used the pay for service.
At the moment I have two messenger clients -Skype & Messenger- and I suppose in the future I will only need the one. That might be deemed good news :-)
I know - I'll get my coat.
EddieD: "..and Skype required me to register for access...yep, it still does - name, email, date of birth, gender, birthday..."
Yes, but none of it has to be true - apart from email and even that can be a one-shot freemail which you only use for Skype. They only know stuff about you if you tell them...
Between them, ekiga for purish VC and telco-style calls for those who want them but mostly a client like the cross-platform pidgin along with a jabber.org account (no names, no personal details required) does what skype does without stealing your bandwidth. Oh, and inter-operates with other XMPP services too.
Let MS waste their money on stupid things.
Skype's not all that important. They've past the point of innovation. Once upon a time MySpace was the be-all end-all social place to be, then Facebook appeared, then woop did someone waste a load of money?
Microsoft just pissed $8.5 million on a boring company. Boring, boring boring, that's Ballmer. Guy has zero vision.
Apple buying Nuance seems even less silly than this story - and that one is just a rumour! :p
I think that after the Nokia/Windows Phone announcement (and don't get me started on that), the chances of video-calling - or any further features, really - being added to the Symbian^3 Skype client from here on, was somewhat on a par with "UK winning Eurovision". Suspect this can now be revised downward to "killed more dead than a Norwegian Blue".
Now I look, there's a distinct lack of alternatives for Internet-calling (audio or video) between desktop/laptop and mobile. We use Skype for video-calling my parents abroad; they won't switch just because of Skype's new owner, so the service would have to deteriorate some way before they'd consider leaving.
I just wish that Fring had a cross-platform desktop application to match their mobile one - if they did, it might make the road ahead a bit straighter...
Time to embrace standard protocols perhaps.
xlite on Mac and Win is pretty good.
Support is built in on the N8 (no video though)
There are several iPhone apps (one with video)
There are many hardware devices available.
There are even BlackBerry apps available.
I find draytel a pretty good provider.
What the sip system really needs is easier configuration.
Nice job Skype management. - who comes up with these valuations anyway? Seriously $50 per 'user' - hell I have 3 accounts and I never use any of them these days.
Skype has 8.5 million actual paying users = real users = MS paying $1000 per real user = wow!
Skype 2010 revenue was $406.2 million = $47.76 revenue per real user
*Best* case scenerio I would have put skype at 1/10th of what MS paid at $850M
* historical % profits are low - sneeze and you will miss it
* revenue is based on skype out credits which are less and less relevant these days due to direct voip calls
* current valuation is based on an ever increasing numbers of users - which we all know will tend to level out
the M in MBA stands for Moron don't trust them.
Had a meeting with a bunch of senior MSFT people last week and the first hour was about how crap Skype was compared to MS-live and how everybody in MSFT used MS-live all the time because Skype was so crap.
Do they just get a service pack download to their brains or do they all have to be strapped into chairs with their eyes held open and shown pictures of kittens while people chant "skype is good" at them
the purpose was to eliminate the cross platform "feature" of Skype to eliminate any value that provided to those other platforms. MSFT employees can continue thinking it's crap. What or how they try to tie it into Windows is another story but as per many many other cases of this, it'll be turned into a subordinate feature looking or acting nothing like its former self. And that doesn't matter because the purpose of the purchase is to eliminate the benefits it provided to non-Windows platforms.
I was very impressed recently with using a couple of Iphones over non Apple wifi to achieve voice/video calls internationally. Why would I bother with Skype, when presumably an Android wifi phone could achieve the same result? If I want cheap international calls anywhere, I can use a carrier such as |First Telecom who have an established business and provide an adequate service. Seems to me that MS have more money than sense and need some independent directors on their board.
Quite amazing timing (not really), Google Talk gains video and voice support on Android devices and less than a month later Microsoft buy Skype? Am I the only one sensing panic in Microsoft?
Yes, I know the Android support doesn't actually work yet but the timing is still 'interesting', especially with Google Talk video calling actually working well between Linux and XP PC's.
Given we only have Skype installed because none of the other Linux VOIP/video calling apps wanted to play nice with any other OS - including my SIP phones, Skype finally has competition to really worry about.
"It added that Microsoft would "continue to invest in and support Skype clients in Non-Microsoft platforms."
Linux SKYPE? Embrace, Enhance, Extinguish.
Skype on Symbian phones (Video promised, not delivered)
Embrace, Enhance, Extinguish. Another nail in Symbian^3's coffin.
Icidentally, "Luxembourg"?? I thought Skype had its roots in Estonia, a country with a population of 1,4 million. Christ, Birmingham comes close.
Also, the stable release versions are interesting...
126.96.36.1992 (Mac OS X)
WhAT the F***CK???? Yet aNOTHER piece of software many of us use or used and hope or hoped would remain on its own falls to the dominion of *microsoft*. WTH... i don't use it much anyway. Guess i won't. I'm f*cking tired of being in sites or apps where my data is getting bought by microsoft, DAMMIT!
Guess i'll have to reexaming Gnomemeeting or that weird-ass name it took on after it wasn't gnomemeeting anymore...
All this goes to show is this is yet ANOTHER successful app that ms couldn't make on its own without DESTROYING a company or competitors, and yet it BUYS one up, and will probably do the same. Meanwhile, millions of sheeple and hundreds of thousands of companies will be ignorant, idiotic, or indifferent and not even bat an eye.
Regulators seem to have their heads up their asses, and investors know no limits. Sometimes, companies should live and die on merit, not how much cash is in their warchests.
How long before the price spikes for paying users? Will there be obnoxious ads to offset the price of not paying?
And, will ms now just all too gleefully give up the encryption backdoor to any remaning governments that didn't manage to crack or strongarm the backdoor?
And probably a few white lines as well: what an astounding piece of business: virtually get paid by ebay to take Skype off their hands and then get given loadsamoney by Microsoft for a product without a really credible business model - most telephone networks I know are cheaper than Skype Out and easier to use. Who said private equity companies don't know how to make money?
What I like about Skype - peer to peer messaging that doesn't run through a server. I use it for voice about twice a year. Wonder how long it will stay like that? I haven't upgraded since it was sold to ebay - I assume all subsequent versions have nice backdoors for the CIA, Mossad, etc.
When I first heard of this I knew that MSoft would want it for integration into existing products... never forget that in the corporate world Office rules supreme. Add all these millions of users into Outlook directory services, live services and the integration of Office and VOIP to millions of businesses makes sense. Another reason why corporates do not need to diversify away from an integrated tool set. Office seats and associated revenue rule supreme.
Here is an additional thought. Now that a US company owns Skype, the national security services of the good ol' US of A have full access to the encryption keys (all six or seven layers) of it.
This is a big deal in the erosion of privacy.
It wasn't so long ago that people were bemoaning Skype for its proprietary closed protocols. So now there's a prospect of it being subsumed into Windows Live Message Network MSN Explorer (or whatever it's called) that's apparently a bad thing?
At least the various other (open source) chat clients I use can successfully interoperate with MS (e.g. my Jabber gateway, Adium, Pidgin etc etc). So maybe this marriage (or rather adoption) will be a good thing?
What a shame, Skype had credibility, it wasn't owned by any vendor so we trusted it. Now it is owned by Microsoft should we trust it?
There is no point in buying this app unless you want to do something with it, the revenue model makes no money of any significance. The only point of buying it would be to (a) stop someone else buying it and (b) change it, incorporate it into your ecosystem. Oh god but what is MS's ecosystem?
Dare i say its more open than Apple's? That Balmer doesn't vet the billions of apps available to download on a windows platform from anywhere and that windows doesn't have a bloody app store icon on its task bar (on no that would be anti trust violating wouldn't it?) .. and skype was just one of those apps that got downloaded and worked in spite of Microsoft and Apple, now it will be one of those Microsoft Apps that works because of Microsoft and we all know what that means , Skype will be Voice Live, it will mingle with Office Live, it will get bloated like an overfed kid .
What i loved about Skype was it was totally open, It was its own ecosystem but one that just did the job, even with the most recent meltdown the open frank disclosure of the issue was a breath of fresh air.
So here comes Windows Validation Tool, Silverlight plugin for Mac, use your windows dead account oops live account to login , no thanks,
$8billion of madness but i suppose they know what they are doing right?http://www.theregister.co.uk/Design/graphics/icons/comment/pirate_32.png
So a provider of a successful but proprietary and thoroughly locked in VOIP service, which refuses point blank to cooperate with the standards out there, has been bought by the current kings of proprietary lock-in and sticking two fingers up to standards?
Colour me unsurprised. The only puzzling bit is why it didn't happen sooner, but then MS usually wait 'til it's well gone 11am before waking up to smell the coffee.
I shall continue to answer the question; "Why haven't you got Skype?" with my standard response; "Why haven't you got SIP?".
 I think IBM have ceded the crown these days.
So how is Microsoft going to recover the $8.5 billion? What's going to change in Skype..more advertising, higher charges?
No doubt Microsoft will then embark upon a campaign of modifying Skype, - evolution they call it - yes, XP - Vista - Windows 7 - that's a sort of evolution and not a good one..
All those people who claimed skype was the best should ask why they did not pay for the premuim services earlier.
Skype was making a loss year after year, they would have died eventually or they would have been bought by Google which would have assimulated Skype into google talk (could be a good thing or a bad thing), Apple would have done they same as they prefer their brand name (facetime) over the Skype one.
Why worry, its not going to change much and I don't think the multi platform support will dissapear (apart from the linux version, which is a maybe).
This is good news. Windows Messenger has the lions share of IM users so combinind Skype with Messenger can only be a good thing. Plus it's one fewer IM inter-operability issues in the future.
The video and audio calling capabilities of Messenger are okay, but replacing them with Skype is a good thing.
given the complete absence of any business case for the scale of this acquisition, I am minded to cynicism.
One of earlier (Anon Coward) commenters on this story suggests they might want it for access to their encryption "or perhaps the NSA do".
That may not be that far fetched. We know that the various security services have expressed concerns at their inability to eavesdrop Skype calls. Perhaps they figure if a friendly co-operative new owner can let them look under the hood..
really? for skype? come on! seriously? there's a 8.5 billion other IP video/chat solutions out there... the only thing skype has in it's favour is a large user base. They just payed $100 for two accounts i don't even have passwords for any more! LMAO!
Not that I'm complaining mind you - skype is the reason everyone is using different incompatible protocols. If MS succeed in killing skype as efficiently as they have killed everything else they have ever bought, then we may get mass adoption of a new open protocol. That would be cool!
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