Microsoft and Skype

So the latest news is that Microsoft is buying Skype.  This is probably one of the best acquisition's Microsoft could make at this point in time, in my opinion.  From a personal stand point, I have been using Skype much more over the past year for business meetings.  If Microsoft can thoroughly integrate Skype with Office, Sharepoint, xBox, and even Windows, they'll have a killer virtual meeting application - far cheaper than Microsoft Lync and far more popular than Messenger - and infinity more convenient than some of the other virtual meeting apps out there if it is integrated with Office.  Plus, Microsoft just purchased a 170 million plus subscriber base.  Granted, most of the subscribers are free users, but Microsoft can still leverage that base with their Bing search engine and perhaps gain market share in the search arena.

But there are lingering doubts as to why Microsoft bought a platform that Microsoft's existing products could cover, namely Lync and Messenger. Why not just partner with Skype?  Plus, Skype uses peer-to-peer networking which is notoriously bandwidth expensive, rather than client-server like Lync and Messenger, which take much less bandwidth.  But with increasing usage of broadband, I doubt Skype's bandwidth issues will be much of a problem.  Also, few people know about or use Lync, and while Messenger is a bit more popular, its nowhere near as popular as Skype.  So, it comes down to buying a strong brand name, a strong user base, and descent potential for monetization.

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