The latest acquisition by Microsoft, of voice call and chat software application Skype, has left a great many jaws on the floor thanks to the incredible value that has been placed on a basically unprofitable company. This price is the biggest Microsoft has ever paid and marks a 300% increase in value for the Skype since its 2007 valuation. Microsoft intends to incorporate Skype and all its staff and technologies with the head of Skype now reporting to Microsoft’s CEO Steve Ballmer.
Sure Skype has 170 million users, 200 billion+ minutes of use last year, is practically synonymous with this type of communication and is one of the most recognisable pieces of software of its type, but why so much?
Are Microsoft Getting Desperate?
With Google and Apple taking tech headlines every morning with new innovations and eye popping software company acquisitions, maybe Microsoft felt it was time they threw some of their weight around? As they have experienced losses to their big rivals of late, acquiring a popular company seemingly from under their noses is a big 1up for the old timer. Perhaps not as a sign of desperation, maybe more of a way of proving that there is still life in the old dog yet. A tremendously expensive show of strength though…
Have they made a Shrewd Move?
As the likes of Google Voice and Apple’s FaceTime have not taken off as either had hoped, there have been rumours or predictions that Google or Apple were planning to make a move for Skype as it had been retaining its users in spite of their attempts to woo them. Microsoft may have jumped in and swept it up before anyone else could get a look in. The proof will indeed be in the pudding though as they will need to find some way of making ‘MicroSkype’ as it has been dubbed, profitable before it can justify its epic price tag.
Have they just bagged some top talent?
Some people think that the most important aspect of the acquisition for Microsoft is not necessarily with the brand or the technology (as after all it is essentially just a VOIP style telephone exchange), but it is in fact the talent pool it has just added to its register. Some consider Skype founders Niklas Zennestrom and Janus Friis top of their game after having kept Skype ahead of both Google and Apple’s similar products in the technology and popularity stakes.
Whatever the real reasons for this move and as exciting a move as this is for Microsoft, some regular Skype users may be concerned that this acquisition will blocks the development of Skype’s Android App and restrict Skype use to Windows machines.
Will Microsoft end up losing regular Skype users by messing with something that was working fine?
What’s Your View?