Re: What is the benefit putting a cloud in the middle?
Microsoft's Skype team on Wednesday announced the confusingly-named Skype for Linux beta 5.0 here, and yes, “we have been focused on building a new experience that is in line with Skype’s ongoing transition from peer-to-peer to a modern cloud architecture”.
Yes, I scoffed at the above also. It was an almost political statement from MS, describing the cloud based architecture as 'Modern'. It's certainly modern, but that in no way means 'better', or 'more reliable', or 'more secure' or 'more private'. Rather the opposite.
In their defence there is some minor technical merit - for example you didn't want to end up as a super-node on the peer-to-peer network if you had a shortage of Internet bandwidth or cared about battery life.
To be honest though I think the original, Estonian design was a technical tour de force, and being able to sell it "twice" was commercial genius.
Having paid so much for it I think MS have to monetise it, which is why they're doing are making these changes. But I don't think it'll work. I use Skype, so do family members, but only briefly once a week to keep in touch. I don't know anyone who uses it in anything like a major way, not for business, not as a matter of course as a way to speak to speak to people. We all just use our mobiles and the vast number of free minutes that comes with the contract / PAYG. Apart from anything else that saves killing the battery life. Who, anywhere, regularly uses anything like Skype, Facetime, instead of making a phone call?
So Skype is never going to be a source of advertising revenue on the same scale as, for example, Google get from people using Google search or using an Android phone. It's always going to struggle to justify the high price MS paid for it.