Microsoft in Surprise Move to Buy Skype
It was only last week that I wrote about Skype being ogled by Facebook and Google and now, it appears, things have taken a surprise turn with Microsoft throwing its hat in the ring and offering to purchase Skype for a staggering $8.5 billion. A sum so large that if we put that many one dollar bills end to end we would have enough to form a line from Microsoft's Redmond HQs to the moon and back and then to the moon again, when the moon is at its furthest point from the Earth (405,503 km).
The moment the sheer size of the offer hits you, you have to wonder ‘why’? Why is Microsoft whose monolithic bureaucracy and inability to grasp the web, has left it floundering behind Google and a dozen smaller startups, willing to pay so much to buy a service which has yet to turn a realistic profit?
There are many good reasons and each of them has to do with Microsoft knowing that it has to do something other than software in order to maintain its viability as a business. Cloud computing is threatening the core business model of the Redmond giant and all its efforts in search have so far failed to make much of a dent in Google’s armour. This has left it struggling to find the next big thing to replace the revenue which it is going to lose once the stranglehold windows has on the PC market declines.
Skype, conceivably, might be it. If the deal goes through Microsoft will suddenly have access to 600 million users, roughly the membership base of Facebook, in one fell swoop. Microsoft’s Kinect has the potential to become more than it currently is, using Skype’s potential to turn teleconferencing into a truly social activity with friends casually chatting to each other, family members keeping in touch and paid-for services such as education, learning and training being delivered, remotely, this way.Continued on the next page