The idea of Microsoft acquiring Skype has confused many people. Many questions are being raised about the wisdom, price, and fit. But Microsoft grabbing Skype makes a whole lot of sense. Times are changing, and Microsoft can't sit back on selling packaged software. As we all know, it's a real-time, cloud-based world, and Skype fills numerous gaps in the Microsoft line with a single acquisition.
First, a little Skype review. Skype has well over 600 million users and recently crossed the 30 million simultaneous users threshold. There are few things in this world that have 30 million simultaneous users.
Even better, Skype is a distributed and diversified set of users--distributed around the globe and diversified among Windows, Mac, Linux, and mobile users. There are very few applications that offer this type of diversity and distribution--MS Office is one near example.
Mobility is a key part of the Skype story and increasingly important part of any technology strategy. Skype Mobile is available for just about every smartphone and openly embraced by numerous carriers. Skype was among the first to support video from a desktop to an iPhone and its VoIP technology is supported on numerous 3G and 4G networks. Verizon has already embraced Skype Video on its 4G network.
In addition to mobile, Skype has a primary initiative to increase its penetration into business networks. Several new services from Skype including Skype Connect, a new business edition of Skype for Windows, and several services for business wrapped under the Skype for Business banner were all introduced over the past few months.
Back to Redmond. Skype fits right into several initiatives at Microsoft, which competes in both business and consumer markets. Skype can fit into Microsoft's goals for the cloud, Office, Windows, Windows Phone/mobility, Lync. Microsoft ubiquity, and probably more.
Microsoft is racing to the Cloud, or as famously reported by Ballmer, when it comes to the cloud, Microsoft is "all in."