Microsoft has bought the popular IM/voice chat application Skype (well, not just the product, the whole company) for $8.5 billion, making it Microsoft’s largest purchase ever. I find that a little funny since Skype actually made a loss of $7 million last year.
But, when you think about it, it makes some sense. Skype has 663 million user accounts (of course, not all of them are active) and about 8 million paying users – obviously not very many, but it’s still some.
Microsoft already owns Windows Live Messenger, another very popular voice IM/voice chat application. Microsoft may choose to merge Windows Live Messenger with Skype, which would effectively give them a monopoly in voice chat applications.
Many Mac/Linux users have been worried that Microsoft might make Skype Windows-only. Microsoft could do that to force businesses who want to Skype their colleagues to use Windows, and also to spite Microsoft’s
mortal enemies competitors Google (with the Android) and Apple (with the Mac/iDevices.) But it also has some huge drawbacks: it would lose a significant amount of market share and users (many of whom are paying.) I think it would be stupid if Microsoft made Skype Windows-only, since Skype’s cross-platform capability is what made it so popular in the first place.
So was this a good idea? Pros:
- Google and Facebook can’t get to Skype.
- Microsoft has a monopoly in that field.
- The purchase makes Skype for Windows Phone viable again.
- Skype is definitely not worth $8.5 billion.
- Microsoft hasn’t done very well with big purchases.
- There just isn’t enough going for Skype to justify its purchase.
Personally I don’t think Microsoft should have bought out Skype, or at least not for that much money.
tl;dr – Microsoft has bought Skype for $8.5 billion, but it isn’t really worth it. Microsoft might merge Skype with its Windows Live Messenger or even make Skype Windows-only.
(Lots of credit goes to the Wired article for some of my facts.)