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It's Official! For Better Or Worse, Skype Is Now Part of Microsoft

Skype microsoft
And so begins the next chapter of Skype... first it was a scruffy little startup taking on the telecom world... then it became somewhat bizarrely part of eBay... then it went back to a private company owned primarily by Silver Lake Partners... and then... to the utter amazement of so many of us... Skype announced it would be acquired by Microsoft!

And today that acquisition is official. Microsoft announced in a news release and Skype announced in a blog post and video from CEO Tony Bates that the acquisition has formally been concluded.

The deal is done. Skype CEO Tony Bates is now the president of the Skype Dvision within Microsoft reporting directly to Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer. I found this phrase of the news release to be interesting (my emphasis added):

Microsoft and Skype will remain focused on their shared goal of connecting all people across all devices and accelerating both companies’ efforts to transform real-time communications for consumers and enterprise customers.

My interest was not only in the "across all devices", which has been a large part of Skype's goal for some time... but also in the use of "real-time communications". For a while that was a phrase that only the more technical-minded folks used, but now increasingly "real-time communications" seems to be the phrase of choice for many. I, for one, applaud the usage.

Skype and Microsoft also apparently wanted to be hype-compliant and so they released an infographic with recent stats about Skype. (Everyone seems to need to have an infographic these days, don't they?)

I admit to a degree of sadness that Skype is no longer the independent company that they were. They were always "fun" as a company because they were such the "outsider" that attacked the entrenched telecommunications industry - and succeeded in so massively disrupting the industry!

They've been fun to watch... and a constant source of stories to write about for those of us chronicling the changing communication industry. Somehow I don't think they'll be quite as "fun" or "wacky" as part of such a megalithic company as Microsoft.

Yet maybe that's okay.

Skype's reached a point in its growth where it has disrupted so much of telecom... and it has in fact become a critical communication tool for so many.

On one level they will now have the large-scale support they need, both from a financial point-of-view but also from a "systems" point-of-view. Microsoft does understand the needs of enterprise customers. I would think they will improve the support options... and improve the security reporting features.

Heck, maybe they'll actually put a phone number on Skype's website so that people will stop calling ME! (People still do... had two calls last week.)

More than that, though, Microsoft will give Skype a platform upon which to move into the enterprise. Not only in the potential integration with Microsoft Lync, but just in the "legitimacy" brought about by being part of "Microsoft". Skype is no longer some scrappy little outlaw-or-barely-legal company from somewhere in Eastern Europe who should be dismissed and blocked by IT departments everywhere.

Skype is now a Microsoft product. (with the associated product pages)

Enterprise IT departments understand, support and use Microsoft products... and so Skype may no longer be as dismissed and blocked as it has been. We'll have to see... but the name does help Skype overcome some of those issues.

Microsoft also has its wide array of other products and services... Lync, XBox, Office, Office 365, etc. So many places where Skype could be further integrated.

It will be intriguing to see where the "Skype Division of Microsoft" goes now. I'm pleased for my friends there that the acquisition has closed so that they have at least some degree of certainty of what is happening next. Kudos to all involved in making the acquisition a reality.

Now let's see what happens in the next chapter of the story of Skype...

UPDATE: Jim Courtney has a good post up, too: Microsoft Acquires Skype: Deal Closed!

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