By Sarah Petit:
With plans to spice up its video chat and conferencing capabilities, Microsoft announced yesterday its acquisition of Skype for $8.5 billion. That may very well be Microsoft’s most expensive acquisition to date, and indeed, many folks have been quick to exclaim that Microsoft got taken for a ride.
That notwithstanding, Skype has 650 million registered users and is signing up 500,000 new users daily. In 2010, the service logged over 209 billion voice and video minutes. Skype of course is available on the Mac and has performed quite well on the iPhone, with over 50 million downloads to date.
But with Redmond now in control of Skype, do Apple users have to be wary of a Skype-less world?
Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer allayed those fears, explaining that Microsoft will continue investing in Skype on non-Microsoft client platforms.
When pressed further for reassurance that Skype would not become a Microsoft-only offering, Ballmer responded: “A, I said it and I meant it. B, we’re one of the few companies with a track record of doing this.” Naturally, Ballmer pointed to Microsoft’s work on Office for OS X as a prime example.
So what’s on tap first for Skype now that they’re under the Redmond umbrella? Why, Xbox and Kinect integration of course. Toss in Windows Phone integration along with integration into other Microsoft services such as email and Microsoft has no shortage of options with Skype. Again, whether or not the purchase was worth $8.5 billion is an entirely different story.