MS buys Skype - Does this make you more or less likely to use the service?

MS buys Skype - Does this make you more or less likely to use the service?

Summary: Unless you've spent the past few hours in a cave, on Mars, with your fingers in your ears humming loudly, you'll have heard that Microsoft has bought Skype in a deal worth $8.5 billion. How will this affect YOU?

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Unless you've spent the past few hours in a cave, on Mars, with your fingers in your ears humming loudly, you'll have heard that Microsoft has bought Skype in a deal worth $8.5 billion.

How will this affect YOU?

Now, I'll leave it to others to speculate as to what this deal will mean for Microsoft and Skype, and what will come of it over the coming months and years. However, I am interested in what this deal might mean to users of Skype in the short term.

First off, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer has confirmed that Skype will remain committed to providing the service to non-Microsoft platforms, which is a good thing. So there's no worry that Skype will suddenly go dead on your particular non-Microsoft device.

OK, so my first question is this ... does Microsoft having bought Skype make you more or less likely to use the service?

[poll id="628"]

Back in March of this year (mere weeks before Microsoft finalized the purchase price for Skype), the company announced that it was bringing ads to the Skype client. Some people were upset by this change (people don't like change), others accepted it. I think that the timing is interesting though, especially given how ad-ladened Microsoft offerings such as Windows Live Messenger have become.

Flash-forward to today, and during the press conference Ballmer mentioned that Skype is great for connecting all sorts of people, for example, school meetings, PTA meetings, family reunions, that sort of thing.

Hmmm ... one of my long-time complaints about Windows Live Messenger has been the seizure-inducing ads that it insists on displaying (there are ways to make them go away, but each product update means having to repeat the process). I try to avoid using Windows Live Messenger for this reason (I'm also no fan of the crap like nudges and winks built into it either, but that's another matter). With that in mind, I fired up Windows Live messenger to check out what quality ads it had in store for me today. Here are the first two ads I got:

Yeah, perfect for school meetings, PTA meetings and family reunions. Just perfect.

[poll id="629"]

I'll admit that I'm not a big Skype fan (or VoIP, FaceTime or video calling in general for that matter). I find the call quality variable and when you throw video into the mix things get really messy. Most of my Skype calls begin and end (usually ending abruptly) with copious amounts of profanity. When it works, it's magic, but when it doesn't, it's painful. I get the appeal of making free calls to others, and I get the appeal of cheap calls, but it's far from perfect.

But still, some 170 million people use Skype every month, and there are some 600,000 new registrations daily. So there's interest. But here's my question ... if people can already sign up and start using Skype for free, what does Microsoft think it can bring to the table to encourage more people to use the service, especially if that involves people buying new hardware and software?

[poll id="630"]

So, what do you think? Where's Skype headed?

Topics: Microsoft, Collaboration, Social Enterprise

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40 comments
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  • Idiotic question. Why would ownership change why someone uses it?

    So MS owns skype, they change nothing, it worked great in the past which is why I use it, so why would it matter?

    That's a pretty stupid question. Would you quit eating Frosted Flakes if Post bought Kelloggs?
    Bill Pharaoh
    • Depends on what you think of the company

      @Bill Pharaoh
      I do see MS-fans push the notion the consumers should be vendor-neutral, but I can't be and I doubt you are either. If a vendor has a long history of trying to exterminate the competition by whatever means it can get away with, I don't feel good about patronizing it. It's my money, and therefore my call.

      BTW: Post is owned by General Foods which is owned (last I checked) by Philip Morris. It bothers some people to patronize a tobacco company, others it doesn't. Make up your own mind and let others do the same.
      John L. Ries
      • By the way: there are serious reasons for the worrying; history says that

        @John L. Ries: ... Microsofts moves back-end of enterprises it bought from Unix/Linux software to its own Windows Server. It was a real mess when HotMail moved that way.

        So not only seizure-inducing advertisements may appear, but also stability of Skype may worsen.
        DDERSSS
    • That's not the question you should ask

      @Bill Pharaoh
      Do you really believe they're gonna leave it the same? That they'll be no change? That they'll pick up and lose millions on it each month the way eBay did?

      If you really believe that, then I have some crapware I'll sell ya. Any color you like.
      ScorpioBlue
      • Right, and ignore promises to the contrary

        MS doesn't support other platforms well, or at all if you refer to a timeframe of more than a decade.

        They've talked of supporting WMP, IE, etc on other platforms only to dump these users eventually. They've even threatened to dump Mac Office at a time when it was making them millions!
        Richard Flude
      • RE: MS buys Skype - Does this make you more or less likely to use the service?

        @Richard Flude - If I'm not mistaken it is MS Office that is the best selling application for Macintosh forever and if Microsoft hadn't been willing to invest a few hundred million in Apple some time back they might not be here today. I guess that shows a lack of support for other systems???
        Walthy
      • RE: MS buys Skype - Does this make you more or less likely to use the service?

        @Walthy
        I seriously doubt M$ Office for the Mac is keeping Apple alive for the moment. If the need is there, they can run regular M$ Office using Parallels if they have to.
        blind obedience
      • facts, anyone?

        @ScorpioBlue

        Maybe get your facts straight: eBay did earn Money with Skype. Just not nearly enough to make up for the retarded amount of money they paid for it lol. And now Ballmer... Muahaha He should be a cattle rancher and not a software exec
        T'sais
    • RE: MS buys Skype - Does this make you more or less likely to use the service?

      @Bill Pharaoh
      I welcome it if they further the integration into Windows Messenger, Hotmail and Phone.
      Admin71
    • MS definitely have something in mind....

      @Bill Pharaoh
      2 things. First. I see changes for free version of Skype. I'm sure MS will push people to use something you have to pay for or you'll be overloaded with Adds. Second. MS will use this on WP7 phone as default Video chat software, instead of building a brand new one.
      hpolk00
  • Message has been deleted.

    itguy08
    • I uninstalled the Windows version...

      @itguy08
      ...but I'm keeping it on my Android and my Linux box.
      John L. Ries
    • Message has been deleted.

      Bill Pharaoh
      • What I do at work...

        @Bill Pharaoh
        ...and what I do when I'm off duty are two different things. I use MS software to the extent the conditions of my employment require me to do so. What I run on my own time and how I spend my own money is my own business, not my employer's.
        John L. Ries
      • Good point, John L. Ries

        I use Windows because I have to. That doesn't make me a fan of the company or what they do.
        ScorpioBlue
      • RE: MS buys Skype - Does this make you more or less likely to use the service?

        @Bill Pharaoh

        Why not? Vendor neutral solutions that don't lock you in benefit businesses. You can move among various platforms easily if/when conditions change.

        Using Microsoft makes sure you stick with them for everything and makes moving from them painful and cost prohibitive.

        Smart businesses realize that agility is important and drives low cost.
        itguy08
    • RE: MS buys Skype - Does this make you more or less likely to use the service?

      @itguy08
      If it is working for you now, it makes no sense to get rid of it. Can you give a better reason beside "I hate Microsoft"??
      Orangy
      • RE: MS buys Skype - Does this make you more or less likely to use the service?

        @Orangy
        Cause I can get similar functionality from AIM, my VoIP phone, FaceTime, Frring, etc.

        Again, why would I use Skype?
        itguy08
    • Message has been deleted.

      bobiroc
      • Much the same can be said regarding your comments

        Or don't they count, and only his do?
        ego.sum.stig