Everyone who fancied themselves as someone had something to say about a year ago when Microsoft up and paid $8.5 billion for Skype. If you revisited the headlines, you’d get the general consensus that Microsoft had money to waste, wasted it, and was in dire need of direction.
Fast forward a bit and people still don’t seem to understand what is going on under their noses, let us take a look. First lets define the word “standard” by 2012 standards (see what I did just there?) A standard is no longer an agreed upon service, protocol or anything of the sort, forged by over priced lawyers and set it motion for the next 10 years. A standard is pretty much what everyone else is using. This may not be a bad thing. For instance, Facebook is the standard for social networking, yes I know, we could all argue different. How about this, BBM was the standard for young adults ranging from 18-30, how do I know? Because I am one! Or, iMessage is now the standard for…. wait, what? iMessage? Who in their right mind would consider that any sort of standard? Well, says the ungodly billions of iPhone users in the world, that’s how they communicate, so it is what they say it is. Do you understand where I am going with this?
But, why now? Skype has been around for ages and nothing ever seemed to become of that, this is part of the reason why people thought Microsoft was off their rockers to fork over a good deal of cash for a seemingly stagnant platform. Enter Apple. Apple bestowed upon the world the wonder that was Facetime. It was great, it was wonderful, it was magic, it was all things under the sun. So now everyone not only had to have it, they had to have any and every device that could run it.
Did Microsoft really purchase a Facetime competitor? Not exactly. Microsoft had long been in command of the instant message game, MSN messenger quietly controlled a huge part of the market. It was only fitting they try to expand on this gem with some responsible foresight as to what technologies could be its successor. Hello Skype, now you make sense!
Skype already had a huge community on its own, but it also had something that was worth a little more than that. When you heard the word Skype, you thought of video chat. When you heard video chat, you thought of Skype, not Facetime or Yahoo video chat or ooVoo or even Google+ chat, just Skype. Do you understand what I am saying?
Skype had and still has up till this day, an incredible reach. I’d argue, the only other entity of its kind available would be Facebook, and that surely wasn’t for sale (so Microsoft just bought a slice ) What do I mean by reach? You can’t get away from it. I challenge you, where ever you can see a Facebook “F” you can see a Skype “S.” Ready…GO! Android, iOS, Mac OS, Windows, Windows Phone, Windows Tablets, TVs, Cameras, Toasters ovens…. well maybe not the toaster oven, but you get the point.
Will you use it? As a world renowned self proclaimed technologist and master of all things requiring an outlet, I use Skype a good bit, and so do many people in technology bubbles like mine. More so, even regular folks living in different countries, Skype has long been known as the tool to communicate with loved ones over long distances, even our troops are well familiar with the platform. Sc-Fi movies have always made a living showing us the dream of a video call being as easy as 1 2 3, it this the day? Hell, Apple managed to bring the Star Trek deck to life, why not the onscreen antics as well?
From where I stand, Microsoft got a deal at $8.5 billion, they managed to put a price on the communication standard and had a few jokes all the way to the bank. What do you think? Agree? Disagree?