Microsoft still isn't "running" Skype yet; the long and winding antitrust approval process is still not yet done. But Skype is making a number of moves that are paving the way for the tie-up with its new Redmondian masters.
On June 20, Skype announced deeper integration with one of Microsoft's BFFs, Facebook. Via the new Skype 5.5 Beta version for Windows, users can instant message Facebook friends directly from Skype, using the new Facebook contacts tab. Skype users can use the Facebook News Feed within Skype to "like" a friend's status or comment on it without logging into Facebook, according to a new post on the Skype "The Big Blog" site.
Late last week, Skype officials noted they had pulled the Skype Extras Manager from Skype 5.3 for Windows. The Extras Manager and other Skype Extras are considered "crapware" by many, and something that Skype furtively downloaded onto unsuspecting users' machines during updates.
From a June 16 post on the Skype Garage site:
"Skype Extras Manager provided access to a number of third party applications like games, fax and call recorders. We stopped the development of Skype Extras on September 2009, because there were only a small number of people using the third party applications through Extras Manager, the next logical step was to remove it from our Windows client."
In addition to making product adjustments, Skype also has been making some personnel-focused ones over the past week or so.
Skype Journal reported on June 15 that a number of Skype senior managers -- including Strategy Vice President Christopher Dean and head of Skype for Business (and former Softie) David Gurle -- had left the company. Bloomberg reported on June 19 that other Skype leaders were out, as well, including some of those who led Skype's acquisition of Qik.
Skype Journal wondered aloud in a new blog post today why the eight Skype execs left or were pushed out, right before the expected closing of Microsoft's acquisition. (One of my contacts claimed -- as one of Bloomberg's sources said -- that the recent Skype departures were "all the (Silver Lake) investors' group doing, for what it's worth....)