Coffeehouse Thread

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Microsoft to buy Skype?

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  • spivonious

    I don't get it. Maybe it will be absorbed into the Live services and show up on the "three screens"? Maybe this is an effort to get MS software on other phone OSes, as they did recently with Bing.

  • giovanni

    , W3bbo wrote

    *snip*

    Windows Live Messenger is only popular for text IM,but not for video and audio chats. The quality (and framerate) of video calls with messenger is nowhere near as good as Skypes, and the UI of Messenger is designed for text rather than visual communication: you only get a small video window off to the side, rather than a huge "in your face" Skype view.

    Skype also has a unified and simple billing system and integration with the worlds' phone networks. Messenger only offered this waaaay back in 1999/2000 with its Net2Phone integration but no-one used it and the quality was bad (but this is attributable to people having dial-up and ISDN back then).

    I really feel this is going to be a repeat of the SideKick affair: Microsoft buying them out to get the talent within and to eliminate some of the competition; the Skype service itself will die in the long-run until a successor (founded by Skype employees who jumped-ship, no-less) comes along.

    Also, what's in this for the Android and Linux clients? It's enough to expect Microsoft to give lip-service support to the Apple crowd, but Microsoft has never officially acknowledged Linux' existence (beyond the time they were legally obliged to release their Hyper-V drivers under the GPL).

    I agree that video and chat are superior for Skype, but Microsoft only needed to improve them, not to buy Skype. What Microsoft did not have was a way to call landlines which is essential for businesses (Messenger used Net2Phone in the early 2000's then switched to Verizon and other network providers - at one point I think it used Telefonica - for this functionnality but never succeeded) and, as you say, Skype already has the most popular system in place to do so. Just think about the advantages of Lync leveraging Skype in a small business environment already using Office 365!

    I don't know if the Skype brand will die or not in the future (I think that it would be a silly thing to do but large companies have a tendency to do silly things and frankly it probably makes sense for Microsoft to merge Skype and Messenger), but I really see no point in cutting off support for other platform such as Linux or Mac. A good app on a competing OS can bee seen as an entry point for Microsoft. And if the app is also profitable, why cut it off? After all Microsoft has been selling Office for Macs for some times.

  • W3bbo

    According to Wikipedia, Skype's revenue is about 700 million USD per year, based on a purely revenue valuation then 8.5 billion USD seems a bit too much, Microsoft has got to have some ulterior plans here.

    As an aside, Skype started off as a disruptive technology in the market, that doesn't sit well with Microsoft which kind of officially distances itself away from 'indie' things. Skype may have grown into a corporate machine, but any hope Skype had of innovating before will be gone with this move. Where's the incentive to take risks?

  • OrigamiCar

    , Bas wrote

    @Dr Herbie: I think VOIP on smartphones is here to stay. What operators are doing now seems like some last desperate struggles to stick to their old model and resist the fact that the world has changed.

    Bingo - they're trying to hang on to their olde worlde business models (like movie houses and record companies).

    In this day and age it is unbelievable that everything isn't treated as just data. Texts, phone calls, internet usage etc should all be charged and the same rate. ie - pay $XX per month for unlimited (or capped at XXgb) and we don't care what type of data is used as that's all it is - data.

    We're starting to see some companies move toward that and I'm sure that's what it will end up being, but the phone companies will drag their feet for as long as possible in order to extract the most amount of money out of their customers in the mean time.

  • W3bbo

    , giovanni wrote

    *snip*

    A good app on a competing OS can bee seen as an entry point for Microsoft. And if the app is also profitable, why cut it off? After all Microsoft has been selling Office for Macs for some times.

    Microsoft actively avoids Linux, partly from fear of the 'viral' nature of the GPL... and the patent concerns. Mcrosoft still 'plays nice' with Mac OS X because it doesn't pose a real threat to Microsoft: sure, people might buy Macs for their home desktop, but they aren't going to appear in the workplace or in the back-end: the places where Microsoft makes the most money. Linux, however, poses a serious threat on all the fronts, and especially mobile.

    Supporting Office on the Mac is in Microsoft's interest; supporting Skype on Linux was in Skype's interest: it allows for 'trickle-down' approval from neckbeard-types and gives them enough customers to supports its continued development, but now that Microsoft is bankrolling the operation there's no motive, and their lawyers will argue its a liability due to the GPL.

  • W3bbo

    , OrigamiCar wrote

    *snip*

    In this day and age it is unbelievable that everything isn't treated as just data. Texts, phone calls, internet usage etc should all be charged and the same rate. ie - pay $XX per month for unlimited (or capped at XXgb) and we don't care what type of data is used as that's all it is - data.

    Packet-switched networks don't work well for real-time communication: you need circuit-switching. 'Voice' channels on mobile phones provide a special type of connection (granted, it may be packet-based fundamentally) that you can't get with a 'pure' IP.

  • W3bbo

    Vivek (a friend of mine who posts on here too) though up "The YouTube Challenge" where a keynote or press conference speech has to be under 15 minutes in length, including a 5-minute Q&A.

    Charles: can you send an email to "c-letters@microsoft.com" with this proposal? It would make these presentations a lot more sufferable Smiley

  • CKurt

    @W3bbo:

     

    , W3bbo wrote

    *snip*

    Windows Live Messenger is only popular for text IM,but not for video and audio chats. The quality (and framerate) of video calls with messenger is nowhere near as good as Skypes, and the UI of Messenger is designed for text rather than visual communication: you only get a small video window off to the side, rather than a huge "in your face" Skype view.

    Windows live messenger 2011 has a real 'in your face' view for video conferencing and does support HD webcams. My personal experience has been better with the Messenger framerates then the Skype ones. Putting calls on hold and conference calls with more than 2 people are sitll missing though. I personally also like the UI of Messenger Much more than the new ugly skype.

    Also, what's in this for the Android and Linux clients? It's enough to expect Microsoft to give lip-service support to the Apple crowd, but Microsoft has never officially acknowledged Linux' existence (beyond the time they were legally obliged to release their Hyper-V drivers under the GPL).

    They have promissed to keep the skype brand name, and keep supporting other non-microsoft platforms.

  • PerfectPhase

    , giovanni wrote

    *snip*

    succeeded) and, as you say, Skype already has the most popular system in place to do so. Just think about the advantages of Lync leveraging Skype in a small business environment already using Office 365!

    I already do the Lync -> SkypeConnect ->  PSTN thing, would be great if you could do it from a cloud hosted system like office 365.

  • DeathBy​VisualStudio

    I sure hope Microsoft can do a better job with integration than Google has done with Google Voice (not that it's terrible or anything -- they just need to beat them) and than Microsoft has done in the past themselves. "Presense" in SharePoint, Outlook, et all is a nice start and the social integration they have in Live and Outlook is good too but voice and video has alway been an issue.

    Ultimately they need to make connecting to people via voice and video as easy as it is to make a phone call. Messenger today is just not there and Skype isn't much further ahead. Mobile could be a great beachhead for Microsoft as no one has gotten it right yet.

    If Microsoft goes to all of the trouble of integrating Skype in Messenger, XBox, Live, Office, Mobile etc and it just doesn't work seamlessly or intuitively it's just not going to be used. I sure hope they look into integrating it with Lync and its messenger too. It would be yet another way to extend Lync's reach to more people. Use Lync for conferencing with your customer who use Skype...

    Bla...bla...bla... overstating the obvious again.

    In the end I suspect this will fail just like the Danger/Kin fiasco and be the exit ticket for Balmer that many of us have been hoping for.

  • Blue Ink

    Yes, in the desktop market this doesn't seem to make much sense, considering that Microsoft already has some competing technology.

    But I see a lot of value with mobile phones... imagine a skype client deeply integrated in WP7, something that would automatically try skype when the phone is on WiFi, maybe even automatically (and kind of seamlessly) switch to the cellular network if the call gets bad enough. This might become a real killer; especially for those who get to travel a lot and constantly incur in ludicrous roaming charges.

    In this scenario, the large userbase of Skype becomes a real asset, not to mention that a feature like this would provide more than some traction for WP7.

     

  • contextfree`

    , W3bbo wrote

    I really feel this is going to be a repeat of the SideKick affair: Microsoft buying them out to get the talent within and to eliminate some of the competition; the Skype service itself will die in the long-run until a successor (founded by Skype employees who jumped-ship, no-less) comes along.

    I'm not sure where you're getting this. Skype is joining Microsoft as a business division - that means that it is a top-level business unit organizationally on par with the six others (Windows, Office, Xbox, phones, Server&Tools, and Bing/MSN). That's a clear indication that they are not buying it to scavenge for parts or to fold into some existing product.

    Microsoft have already released Android clients for Bing and WLM, by the way.

     

  • magicalclick

    I personally don't like the deal. But, on the other hand, no one wants to say "lets chat on Windows Live Messenger", so, switching to skype maybe a better move. But, I prefer stuff like rebranding "Live What Search" to "Bing". Just change the messenger name to WinMe for something cute and easy to pronounce is enough for me.

    Leaving WM on 5/2018 if no apps, no dedicated billboards where I drive, no Store name.
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  • kettch

    , magicalclick wrote

    Just change the messenger name to WinMe...

    Let's not.

    The upside of this deal is that maybe they can move Messenger into the Skype business unit and we can get a client that doesn't have ads.

  • DeathBy​VisualStudio

    , contextfree` wrote

    *snip*

    Microsoft have already released Android clients for Bing and WLM, by the way.

    Is this the Android version of WLM of which you speak? http://download.cnet.com/Windows-Live-for-Android/3000-12941_4-75012414.html A shortcut to the WLM mobile web site? I can't even find it on the Android market. That's pathetic on Microsoft's part. Maybe this is part of the reason they want Skype.

    If we all believed in unicorns and fairies the world would be a better place.
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  • W3bbo

    , DeathBy​VisualStudio wrote

    *snip*

    Is this the Android version of WLM of which you speak? http://download.cnet.com/Windows-Live-for-Android/3000-12941_4-75012414.html A shortcut to the WLM mobile web site? I can't even find it on the Android market. That's pathetic on Microsoft's part. Maybe this is part of the reason they want Skype.

    It looks awful: http://phandroid.s3.amazonaws.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/04/windows-live-messenger-for-android-550x246.png

     

    The Messenger app for iPhone is extremely well-designed and aesthetic, but the Android app is just fugly, and it even has adverts, which are completely devoid in the iPhone app.

    Charles: can you find out why the iPhone app is so great, but not so much for the Android one?

  • contextfree`

    iirc the current WLM apps for both Android and Windows Phone were both outsourced (to Miyowa?), the iPhone app was done in-house by Microsoft. Everyone seems to hate the Windows Phone app too.

  • JoshRoss

    I hate to have a cynical take on this, but. This acquisition has more to do with shoving a sharp stick into Google, than it does about propping up the Live offerings. The only people that I know that use Skype are expats, people with family that live abroad.

    I'm not sure what kind of patents Skype holds. But I'm sure they, when placed in Brad Smth's hand, could be used to make Larry Page just a little more bat-SHlT crazy.

    -Josh

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