Nearly a year after dropping $8.5 billion on Skype, what’s taking Microsoft so long to integrate the VoIP service into its other products?
In part, a desire by the software giant to give Skype its space. “We always want Skype to be first and best on Windows, but certainly a strategic part of the value in communications software is working on all platforms,” Microsoft head Steven Ballmer, recently told The New York Times.
“Still, [Microsoft] cannot afford for Skype to be too independent,” writes NYT. “They want to avoid repeating what happened after Skype was acquired by the auction site eBay for $2.6 billion in 2005. The audience for Skype soared after that deal too. But when expected synergies with eBay did not materialize, eBay spun off Skype into a separate company with new investors.”
As yet, “Microsoft still doesn’t have much to show for its $8.5 billion Skype acquisition -- except for a lackluster Windows Phone app,” notes VentureBeat.
“A Skype application has made the jump to Windows Phone, which was met with mixed reactions, but so far the VOIP service hasn’t found its way into Microsoft’s ecosystem,” agrees SlashGear.com.
“It’s still promising and intriguing, but we really haven’t seen it rolled out across the products,” Bill Whyman, an analyst at ISI, tells NYT.
“You see where Microsoft wants to go,” writes ZDNet. “Skype for Xbox with cool features. Integration with Windows 8, Lync, Windows Phone and Office can’t be too far behind … The challenge for Microsoft is that it has to preserve what makes Skype great while getting bang for its buck.”
“Skype is said to be coming for the Xbox 360, but the crucial detail is when,” SlashGear adds. “Turns out you may not see it until next year.”
Over the past seven months, the number of people using Skype each month has jumped 26% to nearly a quarter of a billion. “But the deal,” according to NYT, “the biggest acquisition in Microsoft’s history, will ultimately be judged by whether Microsoft can weave the product deeply into its vast product portfolio, providing a superior Skype experience on products as various as Windows PCs and Xboxes.”