I would like to state my opinion about Microsoft buying Skype.
But first, I would like to discuss the earlier fact that Microsoft did not buy YouTube, leaving instead that opportunity to Google. Seriously, Microsoft decided not to buy YouTube? What were they thinking? YouTube was and is invaluable, because it is synonymous to online video. Microsoft could have done so many amazing things with this “platform”. For example, only by Silverlight-enabling YouTube, Microsoft could have brightened Silverlight’s spotlight (yes, I know… awful pun) by orders of magnitude. And YouTube could have been Microsoft’s starting point for every new technology and idea involving videos and broadcasting.
But they did not rise to the occasion. And so, Google “stole” this opportunity right from them. That was really bad for Microsoft. I wonder what Bill Gates thinks about that. Was he even informed that such a proposed deal was on the table for Microsoft? Now that he is no longer involved with Microsoft as much, he may have missed this important crossroad. Somehow, I find it difficult to think that Bill Gates knew about the offer, but still advised against the buy.
Anyway, Microsoft should not make another such mistake. And had they turned down Skype, they would have. But, thankfully, they closed the deal. They will have to pay a lot of money, that’s for sure. But the positive public exposure is worth it. Analysts and users are filled with excitement, for two reasons. The first one is that the newly acquired technology and user base of consumer-oriented Skype can be combined with corporate-oriented Lync, thus creating a huge new-age video-enabled telephone network. Not only that, but Microsoft could now be well on its way to control all aspects of interpersonal realtime communications: video calls, video conferencing, instant messaging and online realtime collaboration.
A possible Lync-Skype combo will help Microsoft establish its presence even more in the VoIP market and become synonymous to phone calls and video calls. Windows is more or less synonymous to “operating system” from a consumer’s point of view. The same goes for Google as a “search engine” and YouTube for “online videos”. Now the ball will be back in Microsoft’s court with Skype as “video phone calls”. This is important.
The second reason analysts and users are abuzz with excitement is the realization that Skype can be used with Microsoft Kinect. And that may be even more important. You see, Kinect has a microphone and a camera ready to be used to accept realtime audio and video from the caller. Kinects could be the perfect hardware complements to Skype. They already exist in abundance in living rooms, and by tying them to Microsoft-provided new-age phone communications, even more of them will be sold. And since Kinects are more than a video camera and microphone (they are extremely intelligent audio, video, motion and depth sensors), Microsoft can utilize this prevalence in order to stabilize its presence in the consumers’ homes.
Microsoft buying Skype is a step in a direction that could make Microsoft the leader in a whole range of technologies, both in the corporate world and, more importantly, in the consumer space, where in some areas it has been lately lagging somewhat behind.