In an unforeseen move Microsoft announced that it will officially buy Skype for $8.5 billion in cash. Skype will now form the new “Skype Microsoft Division”, with Skype CEO as its as president. As the dust settles from this announcement many questions remain unanswered. What are their intentions? What is their business plan? And most importantly for us, what does this mean for Linux and Android support?
Steve Ballmer seemed to address this in the press conference:
“Microsoft will continue to invest in and support Skype clients on non-Microsoft platforms”
“We will continue to support non-Microsoft platforms, because it’s fundamental to the value proposition of communications.
…fundamental to the value proposition of communications is being able to reach everybody, whether they happen to be on your device or not. And I think that, in fact, will be one of our competitive advantages, both for the Skype communications services, and in fact, for the devices as we move forward.”
This makes sense as Skype brings in millions of paying customers from platforms outside of Windows, so it is reasonable that they will continue to support these platforms.
A big factor for Skype’s success was that they were a neutral company and worked worked across multiple platforms. With Skype now aligned with Microsoft and their interests those advantages are now gone, and customers might decide to look elsewhere. Possible solutions include that Google Voice, Google Talk, or Open Source Asterisk. Unfortunately these services lack to total feature set the Skype customers have come to expect and depend on.