Don't Expect Any Rapid Changes To Skype Now Microsoft Owns It

As was widely anticipated, Microsoft has purchased Skype for $US8.5 billion. That news has created a lot of panicked reactions along the lines of "oh no we'll all have to use Windows Live/what about cross-platform support?/Redmond is evil", but no matter what changes eventually happen to the Skype platform, it's likely to be a while before we see them.

There are two key details to note in the announcement of the buyout. Firstly, it's going to take some time to settle all the regulatory issues associated with a deal of this size. Microsoft is predicting that the purchase will be settled this calendar year, but that means we're unlikely to see a lot of product changes for quite a while.

The second is that while Microsoft has placed a lot of emphasis on how it can make Skype work better with its own products (including Windows Phone 7 and Kinect), it has also said it will continue to build versions for the Mac and for other mobile platforms. CEO Steve Ballmer made that point very directly during the Skype buyout press conference:

We will continue to support non-Microsoft platforms, because it's fundamental to the value proposition of communications . . . We obviously love Windows, and we love Windows Phone, and we love the Xbox, and we're going to do a lot of work together to design these things and optimise the work that we do across the device, the operating system and the communications software, no question about it. But, fundamental to the value proposition of communications is being able to reach everybody, whether they happen to be on your device or not. And I think that, in fact, will be one of our competitive advantages, both for the Skype communications services, and in fact, for the devices as we move forward.

What's your take on Microsoft buying Skype? Do you think it will change how you use the product? Share your thoughts in the comments.

Skype Press Conference: Steve Ballmer and Tony Bates [Microsoft]


Comments

    Will the Linux version ever get out of beta now?

      Seconded. I'll keep using skype as long as it keeps (half) supporting linux, because there just aren't many alternatives that are widely used.

      Eventually, linux support will fall too far behind the current windows version and I'll have to jump ship to something else. They wouldn't be stupid enough to cut off mac development, but linux is a different story.

        Microsoft supporting linux? think about that...

          Yeah, that's kind of hard to believe. Because of that I'm also afraid Skype will stop supporting Linux or that MS won't develop Skype for Linux. :(

          MS support office for mac and have for some time.

          Mac uses Darwin kernel.

          Darwin is what?

          Oh thats right a *nix variant umm and don't mind whats going on in server enviroments especially with virtualisation and ye beloved cloud.

          There are no fixed boundaries anymore they keep moving the goal posts :)

            Another quick thing linux and mac can RO NTFS unless using 3rd* party software.

            Yet can actively share via samba also known as CIFS i bellieve using FAT er 32 is it or only 16?

            I will take a punt and say 16 because leopard has ms dos in disk utility.

            Linux is typicaly kitted out the same for legal reasons.

            MS and Linux have worked with each other but moreso on select things.

            Compatibility issues between apps and allsorts if anything it's a nice way for MS to get they're foot in the door without having war of the worlds scenario breakout and having linux users in mass panic :P

    I believe I shall be uninstalling Skype.

      really graeme? do you have any reason for that?

      at home i have skype installed on a windows7 pc, a linux netbook, an android phone, an ipad, an ipod and an iphone. all of my friend's and family whether on a macbook, vista, xp or linux have skype installed, because it works for EVERYONE.

      that's why ballmer knows a multi-platform strategy is so important, otherwise it'll just end up like facetime!

    Well if Skype didn't have a backdoor before, then it certainly will now!

      lol yes

    This is awesome! i have a windows phone 7 and XBox and windows 7 PC!! i cant wait for everything to get integrated :)

    in response to Graeme - why are you going to be uninstalling Skype? let me guess, you are a mac user?

    Some people are anti-Microsoft and thats their option, its your choice so Chris when you say let me guess you are a mac user , only serves to show your OWN ignorance! i myself am a Windows/Mac/Linux user so really c'mon!

    Skype has a big share of the market and its a useful service, unfortunately the way I see this is as the years go by and Microsoft holds onto the ide of trying to customize skype across their platform the development for linux and osx/ios will be lost, it may not be viable for the company to sustain future releases and bug fixes where these OS's go in different directions.

    One option might be to rebuild it as platform independent but whats the point of spending 8.5 billion well I guess the user base?

      instead of ignorance, i believes it shows my arrogance.

      my point being, that Graeme did not give a reason for his comment - you simply assumed he was anti-microsoft.

        I'm ignorant too, I'm unistalling Skype and deleting my account!

      Promise i'll make this short lol no not trolling.
      Same i here i know a little about a lot.
      I have mac and windows and they're both sods for strangely enough similar reasons whoda thunk it.
      Shh pssst keep it down i even gave open Solaris a try but being a command line refugee the install now annoys me.
      device=whatisthis/dos/gone/wrong/ohno/itgetsworsebloodygrub/installer

      In which case i said back to Linux.

      SuseStudio is pretty neat for the more win oriented like me.

      All os's have they're downsides bla bla bla you know the rest bye.

        Lol the ihere it's the new followup project to the @pple tracking series of software.

        It lets everyone know you here.

        Wether they want you there or not bah to much competition with facebook and twitter on that one.

        Rebrand as an idiot locator service?

        No disprespect to the foreign tv ch sharing a similar branding.

    PS the best thing that ever happened to Microsoft was Piracy (the greatest marketing tool ever). Apple has yet to learn that apps like facetime only serving as a closed source on a single platform gives them the smallest possible market share.

    Or maybe thats the plan? In my opinion .. what a waste for the human race!

    Skype + Kinect = Teh Good.
    If you can remove a person from their real life messy lounge room and virtual-bluescreen them in to a nicer one, you'll go a long way towards getting people to adopt video conferencing. Now if only the Kinect could do your hair and makeup for you (although it may be able to do some clever lighting using its' infrared cameras) you'd really be in business!

    I think they are coming into the market a bit late. This technology has been around for a long time now. I think it is going to change direction sometime soon to Apps that will aggregate all of your voip type accounts into one interface, and it will be cross platform/hardware/software. At least, that's what I'm hoping for. If and when that happens, the actual Skype software will be devalued more than it it already is.

      And yes.... I am Anti Microsoft. I have owned windows devices since the mid 80's, including PC's, mobile phones, and lots of software. I jumped ship a couple of years ago, and will never go back. If Skype develops along the lines I suspect it will, I will definitely be bailing on it as well!

    Geez im not sure what to thing of this one. I use Windows/Linux all the time and actually use Skypeout numbers at my office and use normal Skype video and chat all the time but to be honest I do feel a bit uncomfortable about this one. Sometimes things are best left to the original visionaries. Integration into Microsoft products are great but what changes will we see? MS had their chance with MS Live and all the rest which was decent but Skype is in a different class. And i wonder how much nokia had to do with all of this as they are a sinking ship as is so a symbian version (a version which works) may now be on the table to hwelp them out. I feel about the same way as if MS bought Facebook......not good. I really hope they surprise me.

      What do you mean Microsoft had their chance with Windows Live Messenger? Windows Live Messenger has about 330 million active uers. Skype has about half of that.

      This purchase will further their influence in communication and connection, and allow some cool new features for skype users.

      On a side note:
      Windows Live Messenger users spend 163 billion minutes in conversations with their buddies, namely approximately 9.4% of all time Internet users spend online.

    Well i hope this opens the door for other companies products.
    The more choice we have the better.

    There's way too many Mac fanboys commenting here. Have any of you actually used Windows 7? It's never screwed up for me. And don't try and tell me that you don't use Microsoft Office. C'mon, there's better stuff in the world to be arguing about.

      Hey Sam, Which one of the above comments is from a Mac fanboy? Not one of them admits that they own a Mac! Not one! Any references to Mac are a fairly balanced opinion I would think. Just because someone dislikes Microsoft doesn't mean they are a fan of Mac.
      No I haven't used Windows 7. Why? Because I can't use it on my windows phone which is only 2 years old. I am, however, successfully running Android 2.2 on my HTC Magic which is the same age. And loving it!

    Hahaha. Anothet attack on Apple users calling us fanboys. Apple haters are arrogant and ill informed.

    I switched to Mac platform because Windows dont work for me anymore. Bloatware, crapware, endless purchase of ither software and anti virus just to get to do what u want to do, safely. And yes i do use windows new releases incl Win 7, but still not happy. Oh btw, i dont use Microsoft Office AT ALL. I use iWork and Open Office, no issues whatsoever.

    Not a Mac fanboy here, but I do love my Mac and OS X and really prefer it a WHOLE lot to windows. I really just don't like Windows all that much, there's lots of little things in it that just done slide well with me. I do however have Windows 7 installed in bootcamp as I have to use it to use 3DS Max.

    Plus I do have a very powerful gaming computer with Windows 7 on it.

    Although you're probably right about a lot of Mac fanboys, it's just as ignorant to assume that their claims aren't based on facts or personal experience.

    No Mac user here, btw. Not quite sure about this one. I just know I really don’t like any windows live web apps. Would have preferred skype to stay independent, though if someone would have had to buy it, i would have preferred it to be google.

    does that mean that skype will be on xbox360

      @Mitch -- that's the stated intention, though there's no fixed release date or detailed public plans.

    Does that mean well have to pay to talk and chat?

    P.S. @mitch- I surely hope so.

      Why would they make you pay to chat? Windows Live Messenger is free to chat...

    I like Microsoft, and am glad to know they now own Skype. Our biggest tool, as Microsoft users, is to support them, and if we dont like what they do, arise the problem before them and make them change it. Do not simply jump ship, and on the other hand dont call mac users names.

    I would also like to see Skype largely developed for the X-Box 360. As someone mentioned before me, Kinect can be a great tool for many people. Imagine a virtual greenscreen environment! I would also like to see kinect drivers for PC.....

    Can I purchase skype credits in dollars?

    Well, now I know why I was charged $0.10 to make a telephone call where the call wasn't completed. Leave it to $Bill and his money hungry cohorts to milk every dime they can out of Skype. $Bill THAT is why I will seldom use Skype except to make peer-to-peer calls. Or are they no longer free. That's a work you really, really don't like, isn't it. Well, my least favorite word is "Microsoft" and my next computer will NOT be using Windoz. Cheers to you and your $Billions. :/

      Yep skype to skype voice calls are free still.

      Calls to an online number here in Oz if your in ADL numbers with 088 087 it's local call cost pretty certain from pstn.

      Usual slug for mobiles.

      Sorry here shameless promo
      http://www.skype.com/intl/en/prices/

      That answers it better than i can perhaps change the currency to your locality but skype to skype voice and video was always intended to stay free.

      Probably as incentive for using it instead of existing services.

      But seeing as most companies call us from VOIP the old i must have a landline theory gets chucked out the window.

      Then we complain about crappy call centres breaking up via voip.

      My theory is that tends to happen less on skype wether thats a good thing could be of serious debate :P

    it's simple really... Microsoft bought the company and after so long the monthly investment will eventually start to profit. You pay a lot to earn a lot.

    The owner of skype on the other hand thought "8.5 billion now instead of waiting 50 years? Yes, please."

    Ok this is going to affect all cross platform users eventually.. but let look at some thing else... Skype is every where, on television in homes, schools and business... Skype has strong name recognition... also 100 million+ registered users (worldwide) 19 to 20 million online at a time... this is a full on telephone company with built in customers(world wide), On the other hand... Microsoft is still breaking in the cell phone biz... with Windows the primary worlds operating system. Microsoft has a history of buying technologies and integrating in to all there apps...the app market is exploding...
    So think about this... could you by a bell company like ATT or sprint... for 8.9 billion I don't think so...but you offer video chatting on there computers,cell phones x-boxes...and the app market on all cell phones... ARE YOU HERING ME NOW... Microsoft is on the decline... think how smart this purchase is

    Only today found this news - but recent small changes to Skype usability were all for the worse - can't wait until Microsoft really f#@ks it up.
    From humble beginnings, with great speed on old PCs, Skype has become so bloated over the last years, that a new i5-processor with plenty of RAM struggles to keep a connection alive...
    I'm a Skype user since around 2001, but it'll probably go the same way as PayPal: in 1998-2001 I had thousands of Dollars going through my PayPal account every month - now they're lucky to process $20/month of my transactions. And ICQ - I can't remember the last computer I had it installed on.

    Well looks like i grabbed the last known S60 series beta just before it vanished ;-)

    The new one that VHA pushes to it's users is yuck.

    I think MS buying it putting a positive spin on things is the best thing that can happen to it.

    Why because they are going to renew the skype for asterisk contract aren't they.

    Aherm aren't they?

    Hello is this thing on tap tap tap?

    Digium software is a winning partnership with MS if they go beyond 2013 please MS i have never asked anything from you in my life first time requester.

    It just makes sense because skypes own offerings are well not of corporate preference perhaps there that sounds good.

    More so home and soho markets not having IT staff to do all this hard stuff for them.

    And also not wanting to use software only or external hardware boxs like engine.

    Nieche market perhaps but worth it lots of business's would be using skype now.

    Moreso they're own VOIP provisder or whatever it's called but still a large number would even if only for skype in it's virtually easier and cheaper to get a number and maintain it for years than bother going the usual PSTN route of obtaining and maintaining that same lanldline number granted anything netbound is prone to so much more dramas but same could be said about GSM / UMTS and broadband.

    MS could cleanup having a nice chat to digium staff and no i don't work for them.

    But it compliments MS's hard work over the years to make a saleable usable OS all arguments aside.

    Comms has not always been a favourite subject of any OS they have enough fun working with existing and future hardware.

    Then we add this and other interesting stuff to the equation.

    I think skype and digium are the missing links to be honest not being stupid but this has serious potential.

    Maybe some parity over calls to PSTN in same exchange as pop or something would be nice but compared to mobile i don't see to many skype users whinging.

    I will say that and everything will go up ten fold and if so i apologise in advance.

    But seriously MS has the money to make these things great and cross into comms seperatly to telcos.

    Who really knows whats going on except them they work ten or more years in advance so anyones guess really.

    I hope for good things thankfully MS doesn't have the AOL touch ICQ became un popular after they took over it.

    Apart from that er the mirabilis story is a curious one indeed.

    Nothing bad but makes you think.

    Another example Twitter.

    Some of these popular or now or always un popular apps and programs were mainly so due to what the companies in question did.

    Yes a lot put ads in because some one has to pay for this stuff.

    tr.im learnt that soon enough.

    Paypal owned by ebay is now a robot do not change your profile settings to not for profit or a anything else from default if your not a business ect.

    This will cause a complete lock down on the account.

    Great for keeping out hackers useless for usage paypal will just keep requesting the same things over and over wether you have them or not.

    And using other payments gateways is probably even more awkqward and pricey.

    Paypal once was good when it was small probably like Facebook and other things.

    Once it grew eg ICQ the servers and security become a real drama bandwidth and other overheads.

    MS is thinking what to do i would imagine.

    Teamup another round with digium skype should go broad spectrum not just through it's own online shops.

    Apple and MS have teamed up for years so it's not that foreign a concept.

    Go MS anything is better than the attitudes of prior management oooo some of them were no no must keep it civil :P

    Wow to all the OS wars.

    When you look at the whole picture it's silly.

    Even windows is making more effort by C++ VB and all the rest of it.

    So many things a are win command line granted more dos like still but somethings like all os's have to be done by command line because some software just requires you to long and short of it.

    Loyalties to one or the other means nothing when it winds up legacy at the same rate.

    And linux coders ect are fickle the ppc and AMD chipsets virtually got shunned by linux.

    Due to a lack of interest or head count for those architectures.

    So no point going wa wa they left me behind.

    Thats what they do all of them you have a 3 year life cycle typically.

    Anything longer is a blessing or a major coding disaster.

    Apple are dragging they're feet with servers.

    Xserve is being stopped i think after that what miniserv and ipads and power macs if they are still around?

    The race is on between Solaris, Citrix, MS
    thats your leaderboard Linux is in there to but like Solaris gets left out on purpose.

    Who or what is better is really a case by case basis especially for business they literally have to find what works for them.

    Home users don't have half the dramas in that sense yes they just have plenty of others to make up for it boom boom.

    Certain version are just bound to be crap eg first GM or RC.

    Win Me and Vista were prime examples.

    Just one problem 7 is based on vista code.

    or should that be kernel sorry if i use the wrong terminology.

    Mmm hence the version 6.1.701 and so on.

    Apple made some doozies to jaguar and tiger were riddled with sagas especially server still early days granted.

    Panther was on par with vista Leopard cleaned that up a bit then ran for they're lives to intel only chipsets beauty.

    Snow Leopard is a marginal improvement on Leopard but same IPv6 stupidity from 10.3 upward.

    Lion roars at the IOS user and scares the hell out of them.

    Pass thank you.

    I have seen enough chipset changes to make me say upgrading no longer matters to me.

    More is done by 3rd party software developers and companies long after the OS owners have abandonned it relegate it to legacy but still want any royalties for any money made via your coding wizardry.

    C++ and all the other languages circumvent a lot of the known OS hard coded issues which are proprietry.

    The open source community usually involving people even in MS or Apple whatever often to sort big known issues which also hold these companies back themselves.

    Very Very easy for the average home user to criticise being the arm chair expert.

    To give you a reference point look at the doco about what the mozilla crew went through over they're deadlines to Netscape.

    That's just a browser now think about a whole OS with international translations and driver editions and embargoe lockout features ect ect.

    Not to mention all the system builder and network admin stuff ect ect.

    They have to pay for all this stuff to be done.

    As these companies keep challeging the geniouses out there if your any good make your own OS and come play our game.

    Linus had no intention of taking these guys on sale wise but new there had to be a free alternative because even unix is proprietry.

    He got around the issue brilliantly.

    I will never say otherwise but even he says it's now getting bloated.

    The purists use the stock cut down improved this and that but for example rpm's and pkg and others they can't be used cross platform in linux both machines have to be running that platform or be compatible.

    If it's straight C++ ect coded yes and no it may work but everything from glibc to perl and gcc and cause widespread pain across even linux platforms let alone other *nix.

    Reason being coders tell me linux users non standard commands and it can be distro dependant darwin also has funny ways of doing things.

    So who's better than who gets real hard.

    When it could be argued that most are not playing by the book.

    Solaris not knowing much about it and sparcs i will say they are staying true to form because they are just magic.

    Complicated as heck but they need to be for the sizes they can get up to MS and others took ages to get where Sparc and Solaris had been fine tuning for years.

    If you want to see the big guns play come to
    world community grid or some of the other big crunching projects on boinc.

    That's the quarter mile for computers.

    Overclockers and all welcome rather than just running dummy results your crunching for usefull causes on worldcommunitygrid.

    Ok time to go lightning thats a sign.

    Hooroo

    What are the alternatives to Skype? I would prefer to find one now.
    J

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