So Microsoft bought Skype, the standard procedure after this purchase should have been a simple one, Skype slowly stops supporting all other platforms, services on those platforms become unbearable to use, we then all spend a few months trying alternatives on our macs and android devices, then Skype gets a brand renaming to a Microsoft product and some obscure replacement service comes up as competition on cross platform systems with few features than the new Microsoft one.
That’s what normally happens..
However not with Skype right now it seems.
First there were the OSX stability updates, maybe something which was a hangover from prior to purchase however very welcome. This was followed by an announcement of video support on android devices, which fell a bit short as it turned out only to be a handful, however today about 17 additional handsets were updated to support video calling. All of which have been big sellers.
Then in an almost impossible turn of business Microsoft penned a deal with Facebook to use Skype as facebooks video calling technology. Immense.
And as if there were magic happening in Redmond today use of an open source video codec within Skype was announced. Could this mean an api allowing IM tools such as Pigden or Trillian to link into skypes video calling?
Is this a new Microsoft or just intelligent business? There is competition out there, FaceTime and Google talk come to mind, Skype is a known brand name, and if you get it used by users, it makes getting the business product into comms rooms far easier if there is already a huge user base. And that is where Microsoft will monitor Skype. In business. Many scenarios such as support calls, interviews, teleconferencing become much easier for companies if the user already has the client, Skype in this case. Installed.
This has the potential for Microsoft of being huge having played this well so far, not alienating non windows users. Making a video call as a normal thing has just taken a huge step to becoming normal.
I hate writing nice things about Microsoft. This time it’s due..
How Microsoft might make some cash out of Skype.
I’ll be upfront about this, I’m disappointed that of all the companies who bought Skype it ended up being Microsoft. Mainly because Microsoft has just become a huge well where innovation goes to die in the last few years. Having a huge market share doesn’t make you relevant.
So with the news breaking this week, I decided to kill off my Skype account, and find an alternative. It might seem to be cutting my nose of to spite my face however i’m one of the handful of people who does pay for Skype services each month. And i’m not investing in Microsoft.
Today Microsoft bought Skype, and according to all the press releases, this is a good thing. apparently things will “not change” with their multi platform client, and it’s all going to be good in the VoIP Hood..
Well, i’m sorry, there is a tingling in my spidey senses, and let me tell you they are not wrong often.
Skype, is the worlds most prominent VoIP telephony service, as close as a household name as you can get. Offering over Desktop OS’s and a plethora of mobile platforms. Indeed on Three Mobile in the UK, they offer a free Skype to Skype calling service.
And the keyword in that above paragraph is “free” because i’d guess that while there are opportunities, which i myself use, to moneytize skype with the ever so useful VoIP number, the international services. the Voicemail the multi webcam services etc. Essentially Skype is seen as a free service.
So why did Microsoft buy Skype?
Three key technologies, the P2P network which Skype uses to provide its services, this is built on the backbone of the old Kazaa music sharing services, and highly useful if your looking to provide your own phone service with an edge over Android and IOS.
Then there are the Codecs, the Audio compression codec is legendary and what provides skype with the clear calls world wide it offers, however the recent purchase of Qik, a service similar to uStream, however designed for streaming over 3G networks from mobiles, also introduced a codec for Video calls, again, something a mobile vendor not having much luck in the IOS/Android marketplace may see as an edge.
Microsoft needs to move into, and create new Markets, they are becoming stale, not seen as an innovator especially next to Apples meteoric rise over the past few years.
So while it may seem that Microsoft may have bought Skype for a VoIP Client, what they have bought is actually an infrastructure and asset of superb codecs, and a group of people who know how to use them. While it makes good PR to state that you will keep the client going. I’ll state the farm on the fact that within the next 12 months its a dead duck, Windows only, Client, working best on Windows Mobile devices, with a shadow of a Linux and Mac Client, and that Android Client with video calling will be dead.
Unless the guys in Redmond see fit to embrace all platforms and spread the love, however if past history is anything to go buy, its time to find an alternative to Skype and do it fast.
As a footnote, this was announced as the “Microsoft Skype Network” which is worrying as thats “Microsoft Skynet”
There is no doubt that when it comes to cross platform VoIP systems there is one company which right now are head and shoulders out in front. Skype have been pushing this technology and codec for a long time, long enough to have survived several buyouts and legal disputes. However they still end up being the service people seem to be using.