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Microsoft Buying Skype for $8.5B

CmdrTaco posted more than 3 years ago | from the zomg-avalanche dept.

Businesses 605

Approximately one trillion readers wrote in to tell us that there is a big rumor that Microsoft is buying Skype. This follows an earlier rumor that the suitor was Facebook. Unsurprisingly many people are already wondering what it would mean for Linux users of the popular VoIP platform. Many major publications are running versions of the story.

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Grants Ballmer (-1, Offtopic)

binarylarry (1338699) | more than 3 years ago | (#36081560)

This brings a whole new meaning to the popular phrase "We're going to skype you in the ass!"

Congrats Ballmer and Team Microsoft! You go girl!

Re:Grants Ballmer (1)

camperslo (704715) | more than 3 years ago | (#36081750)

Contact your senators and congressmen and ask them to stop this

Re:Grants Ballmer (1)

Samantha Wright (1324923) | more than 3 years ago | (#36081800)

How? It's not an antitrust case. MS doesn't have any presence in the VoIP arena (at least as far as I know.) There's not much to do about it.

Re:Grants Ballmer (3, Insightful)

vlm (69642) | more than 3 years ago | (#36081956)

How? It's not an antitrust case. MS doesn't have any presence in the VoIP arena (at least as far as I know.) There's not much to do about it.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tying_(commerce) [wikipedia.org]

"The basic idea is that consumers are harmed by being forced to buy an undesired good (the tied good) in order to purchase a good they actually want (the tying good), and so would prefer that the goods be sold separately"

Basically, once skype is carefully accidentally closed to all but win7, and MS is the monopoly provider of win7, skype will be tied to it.

Re:Grants Ballmer (0)

dave420 (699308) | more than 3 years ago | (#36082002)

Right. So now is not the time to complain - wait for the bad deed to actually occur before screaming about said bad deed.

Re:Grants Ballmer (2)

postbigbang (761081) | more than 3 years ago | (#36082020)

Skype is but one of many-- albeit one with more sunken capital and assets-- and its functionality can be replicated easily. Microsoft could exclude Linux or even Apple users. That would be silly of them.

There are dozens of decent VoIP apps out there, and some of them are browser-based rather than P2P. So there is no monopoly-- not that this reason makes Microsoft any more holy. It's more added value for Microsoft. Others can add similar value and reap those benefits, too.

Re:Grants Ballmer (2)

Albanach (527650) | more than 3 years ago | (#36081960)

How? It's not an antitrust case. MS doesn't have any presence in the VoIP arena (at least as far as I know.) There's not much to do about it.

Could it be an issue if they were to stop making a linux client?

Then they could be using Skype (and it's lack of availability for a competing platform) to strengthen their operating system base and weaken a competing OS.

Alternatives? (3, Insightful)

rlp (11898) | more than 3 years ago | (#36081566)

So what's a good alternative to Skype that works cross-platform? I use Skype with Linux and Android connecting to Mac and Windows users. Is Jitsi a reasonable solution?

Re:Alternatives? (5, Insightful)

binarylarry (1338699) | more than 3 years ago | (#36081596)

Google Voice is pretty nice, gmail has an integrated client.

Re:Alternatives? (5, Informative)

SimonTheSoundMan (1012395) | more than 3 years ago | (#36081772)

Only available in the USA which doesn't make it a reasonable solution. :(

Re:Alternatives? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36081878)

Try Google Chat, this is what my friend in Brazil and Hong Kong use to communicate with me every day.

Re:Alternatives? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36081898)

Only available in the USA which doesn't make it a reasonable solution. :(

I think that might change a hellova lot sooner than was previously planned.
The law of unintended consequences at work. :o)

Re:Alternatives? (2)

pinkushun (1467193) | more than 3 years ago | (#36082012)

Only net-to-land calls that are restricted to certain countries, net-to-net work internationally.

Re:Alternatives? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36081652)

The main issue is not having a good client, there are tons of excellent ones, but having some kind of infrastructure which has a decent uptime and lets you find your friends easily, acts as a proxy for firewalled connections, plus lets you talk to the landlines, even if for a price.

Re:Alternatives? (2)

bflong (107195) | more than 3 years ago | (#36081656)

Google Talk has a Voice & Video plugin for the three major platforms. It works right in the browser. You can even do video chat from an android tablet.

Re:Alternatives? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36081692)

Last time I checked Google Talk didn't have a multi-user chat that was supported by desktop clients (like Adium.)

Is that still the case?

Re:Alternatives? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36081768)

This is not the case. It definitely supports multi user chat. Just click the plus person button in the chat window

Re:Alternatives? (2)

piripiri (1476949) | more than 3 years ago | (#36081788)

I'm waiting for GNU Free Call [gnu.org] .

Re:Alternatives? (2)

19thNervousBreakdown (768619) | more than 3 years ago | (#36081888)

I'm sure it'll see plenty of use on Hurd.

Re:Alternatives? (1)

grub (11606) | more than 3 years ago | (#36082056)

HAHA! Moments earlier and I would have had trouble containing the coffee I was about to swallow. Well done.

Re:Alternatives? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36081804)

Jitsi is to Skype what feral hippies are to scientists.

Re:Alternatives? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36081828)

Yes, Jitsi is pretty good. There's also Ekiga and Blink.

On Android, try Sipdroid or Linphone or SimpSIP. None of them is very good in terms of interface or features yet, but many are quite workable.

And if you just talk with a few known people, Mumble (on all platforms) will also work.

And these are just a few of the Open Source solutions...

Re:Alternatives? (1)

Goffee71 (628501) | more than 3 years ago | (#36081946)

You want Viber (http://t.co/wcE4frR) if you're after a mobile app which offers better voice quality, and is iPhone/Android with others coming soon.

Re:Alternatives? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36081990)

Maybe this will finally give the various SIP and IAX based platforms the exposure they need.

Re:Alternatives? (2)

Jorl17 (1716772) | more than 3 years ago | (#36082044)

Honestly, I run a private mumble server and have all my friends just connect to it. If I want to talk to just one, I talk to him alone in the server. I have verified that it doesn't spend as much as Skype and the quality is far superior. For chat we use google chat, or sometimes my own "Jorl Chat" /yeah, I had to name it after my poor nickname). But mumble works fine in Windows and Linux.

Done deal (1)

tizan (925212) | more than 3 years ago | (#36081578)

According to the Beeb.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-13343600 [bbc.co.uk]

Gnu phone anyone ?

Re:Done deal (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36081702)

What is Microsoft buying? eBay got ass-raped after they inadvertently bought the consumer business "Skype" without buying the underlying technology.

Re:Done deal (1)

DrgnDancer (137700) | more than 3 years ago | (#36081848)

I seriously doubt Microsoft would make that kind of mistake. Say what you will about their technology divisions, but no one doubts the prowess of their lawyers.

Re:Done deal (1)

Goffee71 (628501) | more than 3 years ago | (#36081970)

With the amount of cash MS has, it isn't overpaying, and given the long term boost Skype can bring to PC, Xbox, Windows Phone 7 and enterprise departments, it has a lot more advantage to gain than eBay ever did. http://www.cmswire.com/cms/enterprise-collaboration/enterprise-collaboration-microsoft-buys-skype-for-us-85-bil-011169.php [cmswire.com]

The future (2, Insightful)

CrackedButter (646746) | more than 3 years ago | (#36081592)

"wondering what it would mean for Linux users" - It means you're fucked! Sadly.

Re:The future (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36081688)

"Microsoft will continue to invest in and support Skype clients on non-Microsoft platforms."

Re:The future (1)

darjen (879890) | more than 3 years ago | (#36081754)

we can only hope they actually follow through with this promise. we'll see.

Re:The future (1)

Hijacked Public (999535) | more than 3 years ago | (#36081816)

I'm sure they will, and their excellent portfolio of non-Windows software offerings should stand as evidence.

Re:The future (1)

ArAgost (853804) | more than 3 years ago | (#36081938)

Well, Office for Mac is there and it's actually pretty good. But that's about it, you're right.

Re:The future (2)

DrgnDancer (137700) | more than 3 years ago | (#36081992)

If nothing else it means very little in the short to medium term. They'd be fools to kill the Linux and Mac client development right off, even if that is their long term plan. Realistically though, MS has been pretty good about cross platform support on their non-core technologies lately. They've got several pieces of software on both the Android and iDevice App stores; and while the Silverlight client for Linux is clearly no one's top priority, it's getting regular updates. I'm not going to lie, I kinda wish they'd do an Office for Linux; but only if they put at least the amount of effort into it as they do into the Mac client. Unless you just have moral issues with using anything associated with MS, I tend to think it'll be fine.

Re:The future (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36081764)

"Microsoft will continue to invest in and support Skype clients on non-Microsoft platforms."

I was thinking about modding you +1 Funny :), but I actually do believe they will. Look at Bing support for iPad fx, it is quite amazing. Seems times are changing.

Re:The future (1)

Samantha Wright (1324923) | more than 3 years ago | (#36081858)

Supporting Apple is not the same as supporting Linux; remember that Gates made a pledge to prop up Jobs some fourteen years ago, and MS has been shipping Word for Mac for a decade longer than that. They could still brush all other platforms under the rug and claim they're being broad. Maybe not immediately... just in time for the next major release. Which will require Silverlight.

Re:The future (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36081712)

It would be better to be "wondering what it will mean", because according to the updated article, the deal is already closed... 8.5 billion in cash.

Re:The future (3, Funny)

cpu6502 (1960974) | more than 3 years ago | (#36081752)

So negative. Don't you think Skype will continue providing a linux client program, just like they've always done?

Re:The future (4, Insightful)

poetmatt (793785) | more than 3 years ago | (#36081882)

Aaaand this is why you never go proprietary. They can stop an application in it's entirety without anyone being able to pick it up and continue the work.

Re:The future (1, Insightful)

dave420 (699308) | more than 3 years ago | (#36082068)

Soooo you spend years not using some very good software because it's proprietary and might force you, at some point in the future, to not use it? Sounds like cutting your nose off to spite your face. What if they don't stop supporting the linux client? Then you've permanently removed yourself from being able to use Skype, and forced yourself to use some half-baked not-as-good alternative. Genius.

Re:The future (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36081912)

Yes, but it just won't work properly, on purpose...

Re:The future (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36081930)

Uh, no. *cough cough*oracle*cough cough*

Re:The future (1)

Compaqt (1758360) | more than 3 years ago | (#36081778)

First the Nokia assimilation, now this. A disastrous start to 2011 for geeks.

Re:The future (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36081958)

Real geeks aren't such a bunch of knee jerk cry babies. This is bad for the comic book nerds who think that using Linux is k3wl but have no ability to do anything better.

Re:The future (1)

theonesandtwos (1349467) | more than 3 years ago | (#36081790)

I don't think so. I can't imagine they would be stupid enough to remove support for non-microsoft platforms. If they do they might as well have lit the $8.5B on fire.

Whatever happens, you won't like it. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36081844)

My experience is that almost everything Microsoft touches is unpleasant for everyone else. My guess is that Skype will become the Zune, the Vista, and the Windows ME of voice communication. Microsoft is run by a CEO with little or no interest in technical things, so even if the company wanted to do something good for users, it wouldn't know what that is.

We need an open-source alternative.

Re:The future (1)

VortexCortex (1117377) | more than 3 years ago | (#36081984)

"wondering what it would mean for Linux users" - It means you're fucked! Sadly.

No, it only means that those who traded convenience for freedom get fucked, even on (especially on) Linux.

Fortunately, I only use free software with my GNU/Linux distribution, thus when proprietary software makes its round of fucking people, to me seems like air-humping -- I point and laugh.

Re:The future (2)

betterunixthanunix (980855) | more than 3 years ago | (#36082042)

Unfortunately, most GNU/Linux users are not interested in freedom, they just want a system that is not Windows. I see plenty of GNU/Linux users running Adobe Flash, Skype, Chrome, Matlab, and various other proprietary software. I have also seen plenty of GNU/Linux users switching to Mac OS X, and still thinking they are part of some elite "doesn't use Windows" club. There are also a lot of GNU/Linux users who say I am being unreasonable by refusing to install the Flash plugin, or who give me a weird look when I say, "I read the license and there is no way I am going to agree to that" -- these same people have not actually read the GPL or BSD license.

Re:The future (0)

dave420 (699308) | more than 3 years ago | (#36082074)

You point and laugh while using second-best software that is routinely shown up by the non-free software out there? Sounds rather silly to me.

Re:The future (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36082036)

Nah, they'll rewrite it in C# and you can use Mono to run it. See, Microsoft loves everybody!

Linux users concerned... (0)

dicobalt (1536225) | more than 3 years ago | (#36081610)

that they could loose a piece of closed source software? That must have some comic value.

Re:Linux users concerned... (1)

Lunix Nutcase (1092239) | more than 3 years ago | (#36081914)

It's no different then the people constantly begging Adobe for Creative Suite or Valve for Steam.

~ 10^9 submissions (2)

KBentley57 (2017780) | more than 3 years ago | (#36081614)

And here I was thinking I had submitted a great story! Anyways, I use Linux primarily, and skype often with family members. I hope I don't have to re-setup everything as a result of discontinued compatibility. It's doubtful that they would continue to support versions of linux. I can see them supporting apple software as they do for Office, but I'd be willing to bet linux users will be hung out to dry.

Quick question (2)

Richy_T (111409) | more than 3 years ago | (#36081616)

Does it uninstall cleanly?

MS Kinect as Living Room Game Changer (1)

RobotRunAmok (595286) | more than 3 years ago | (#36081630)

Turning the Living Room into a video conference room is what will get the grandparents to buy an Xbox, similar to the way photo-sharing through e-mail got The Folks online to begin with.

Come for the remote grandkid interaction, stay for the streaming music and video...

Re:MS Kinect as Living Room Game Changer (1)

somersault (912633) | more than 3 years ago | (#36081708)

Can't you already do that with the Xbox? Video chat is definitely there on PS3 if you just plug in a USB webcam, though I haven't tried it on my Xbox (I assume that MS would charge you for a special Xbox webcam rather than just letting you use any peripherals you want)

Re:MS Kinect as Living Room Game Changer (1)

ifrag (984323) | more than 3 years ago | (#36081884)

charge you for a special Xbox webcam

It's called Kinect.

Re:MS Kinect as Living Room Game Changer (1)

Xest (935314) | more than 3 years ago | (#36082032)

"Can't you already do that with the Xbox?"

Yes using either Kinect or the older Live Vision Camera.

"I assume that MS would charge you for a special Xbox webcam rather than just letting you use any peripherals you want"

Well what are they supposed to do? Spend an absolute fortune providing device drivers for cameras they haven't made and don't make any profit from? Allow an option to install drivers which creates a massive potential for security vulnerabilities on their platform? Both devices are well understood and use standard USB so there's no reason other firms can't create XBox compatible hardware themselves in this respect if they choose, but they don't because it wouldn't be profitable, Microsoft is years ahead on R&D and production with Kinect and the Live Vision camera probably just doesn't make any sales anymore.

Re:MS Kinect as Living Room Game Changer (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36081780)

I've thought about their reasons for this, as they already have their own video communications software built into communicator, etc. I think that they are definitely buying this to incorporate into Kinect.

Seems legit (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36081632)

http://www.microsoft.com/Presspass/presskits/corpnews/

Live webcast 8am PDT.

Question.... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36081640)

Wow - all the Linux people spreading the FUD this time around. Ever stop to think that maybe, JUST MAYBE, MS is buying it for the tech, looking to expand on what's already there, being able to use their existing infrastructure to better the service, while adding it to the Xbox 360 (and future consoles), all the while, continuing development of all the versions already existing?

Or are all you Linux fanbois just gonna dump Skype because it's owned by MS now, and you're leaving due to "principle" - i.e. being retarded?

Re:Question.... (3, Informative)

Chrisq (894406) | more than 3 years ago | (#36081706)

Wow - all the Linux people spreading the FUD this time around. Ever stop to think that maybe, JUST MAYBE, MS is buying it for the tech, looking to expand on what's already there, being able to use their existing infrastructure to better the service, while adding it to the Xbox 360 (and future consoles), all the while, continuing development of all the versions already existing?

Or are all you Linux fanbois just gonna dump Skype because it's owned by MS now, and you're leaving due to "principle" - i.e. being retarded?

Just look at their past record [wikipedia.org] . Maybe that strange guy in the park with the prison tattoos really has a puppy in his van.

Re:Question.... (2)

Stormwatch (703920) | more than 3 years ago | (#36081716)

Or are all you Linux fanbois just gonna dump Skype because it's owned by MS now

They won't have to: Microsoft will likely dump the Linux version anyway.

Re:Question.... (2)

somersault (912633) | more than 3 years ago | (#36081776)

Remains to be seen what they do with the cross platform versions. Microsoft don't have a history of playing nice, ever. I don't even use voice/video chat apps, but this would be enough to make me at least look for a backup option to be on the safe side.

Disclaimer: I don't like Windows, and I don't particularly like MS, but my levels of pettiness have dropped to where I have bought an Xbox (but with the intention of mostly renting the games, or buying at budget prices).

Re:Question.... (2)

Bitsy Boffin (110334) | more than 3 years ago | (#36081786)

all the while, continuing development of all the versions already existing?

If it doesn't make them money MS would be unlikely to continue development of a Linux version. I would not be surprised if the Linux version is not all that profitable for the work that would have to go into it vs. the revenue realised by it (Skype Out etc).

Supporting the competition is something that MS doesn't do lightly. Begrudgingly they have Office for Mac and really that's about as far as it goes these days.

I would say that the Android Skype is reasonably safe for now, since inter-operability there is important to keep market share for Skype (if Android uses changed,to something else a lot of OTHER Skype users would follow I could guess).

Losing a few linux users, unlikely to be much of a problem to MS honchos.

Re:Question.... (1)

gmueckl (950314) | more than 3 years ago | (#36081808)

Well, continued development of an own product for Linux* would be something completely new for MS. They haven't done that before and there may even be considerable legal concerns about patent-related language in some open source licenses for libs that Skype on Linux ultimately depends on. If they happen to be very unlucky they may lose the ability to threaten with patents againt Linux. They certainly do not want that.

Plus, there are not that many customers on Linux, relatively speaking. So they'll certainly do the math. What does it cost to maintain and support the Linux client? How many of them are paying customers? How many Linux users would migrate to Windows and pay additional license fees to MS when that client is discontinued? I'd like to think that the last number is the most significant, so the client will be abandoned for sane business reasons. Business is the part where they are least stupid and most ruthless, remember?

* Okay, there is this kernel module to support the Windows Server hypervisor, but that lives inside the kernel, which has a much simpler licensing structure than the user space.

Re:Question.... (2)

ledow (319597) | more than 3 years ago | (#36081814)

Previous history teaches us to be wary. Fool me once, and all that.

The point is that if you've been reliant on an awful lot of things that MS has bought out in the past, you've come unstuck - usually not long after they bought it out. I put a list on The Register already and I can't be bothered to go find it and paste it back in.

And even if true, then the proof of the pudding is in the eating. Watch what MS do. Based on past personal history, I predict that a lot of people who *aren't* complaining and currently *using* Skype won't be using it in the future. You can prove me wrong (for the first time ever, when it comes to MS) in a year's time if that's not the case.

You honestly think that MS are going to continue the Android version of Skype, for instance? That they won't fight tooth-and-nail to stop third-party clients using the Skype network without be "authorised" by MS? That somehow they'll be nice as pie to all those MacOS and Linux users they have currently? You seem to be suggesting that they could even enhance the service.

And, like everyone who's worked in IT for a while and seen how MS has behaved historically, I don't believe it and even if they turn it into the most wonderful, open service in the world, they STILL have a lot of making up until I start to trust their intentions by default.

Retards for having a principle and not wanting to *risk* getting stung? I'm a retard then. A professional one in fact. Strangely, I'm not even using Linux on the desktop either. You don't have to be a fanboi to worry about getting stung, and you don't have to be one to not trust someone's intentions based on past behaviour.

I still have Skype installed. But every update from now will be installed retrospectively once other guinea pigs have a chance to tell me what they changed. And I'm actually researching current alternatives - I'm hoping this might be the impetus needed to forge a decent, ubiquitous, cross-platform and open-source alternative. While Skype was doing what people wanted, there was no need for an alternative - now I, and many others, are looking for one - just in case.

Re:Question.... (2)

david.emery (127135) | more than 3 years ago | (#36081868)

This comment deserves better than the negative moderation points it's received. It's a valid point. The idea of adding Skype to Xbox 360 is interesting.

Now I plead guilty to the charge of disliking anything with the Microsoft brand on it, I'm not sure that makes me 'retarded', just prejudiced. This is why we ignored the Ford Fusion Hybrid when we were looking for a new car last year.

Not just linux users (1)

Chrisq (894406) | more than 3 years ago | (#36081642)

Not just linux users either. Mobile users except for those with Windows phones are probably fucked too, the android skype [skype.com] users almost certainly.

Re:Not just linux users (1)

mzs (595629) | more than 3 years ago | (#36081758)

Came to say that too. Also PSP users may be first in line for trouble considering Sony and MS compete with PS3 and xbox360. Also you will likely see skype on kinect way before PS3 now.

Sounds like a big risk to me (4, Interesting)

Jugalator (259273) | more than 3 years ago | (#36081668)

Microsoft already has the technology necessary in their own audio/video/text Windows Live Messenger platform. So I don't think it's about that. And yes, I feel sorry for the Skype staff today -- I don't think this move bodes well for them at all. Their competence may not be what Microsoft is looking for here.

And as for other reasons, the paying customer base (compared to the non-paying WLM user base) of Skype could perhaps be attractive to Microsoft. Keep in mind that Skype is running with losses despite all these users, though.

In the end, taking all these thoughts together, I can only imagine that this is a risky move by Microsoft. I think they are hoping for awesome synergy effects from some forthcoming integration with their products. I assume something big, and no minor idea, since it needs to pay these $8.5 billion and more.

My first idea was integrating this with Windows Phone 7 (8? 9?) to get phone calls at data rates, but I have no idea how they'll going to get the providers to accept that. That would be a feat as grand as Steve Jobs getting the music companies to sign on to iTunes back in the days, if not greater.

Otherwise... Hmm, someone mentioned Xbox or Kinect integration to communicate with others with these devices... Well that's a thought but why shouldn't they be able to just implement that feature with their Live network? Write a WLM client for these - done. No $8.5 billion wasted.

Not sure if there are other ideas about where MS may be going with this?

Re:Sounds like a big risk to me (1)

maxume (22995) | more than 3 years ago | (#36081710)

Microsoft is flush, so it isn't that risky a move. The biggest risk is pissing off already pissed off investors, but given the irrationality of internet stock analysis, this will surely be seen as a positive worth far more than $8.5 billion in market cap (I can't decide if that last bit is sarcastic or not).

Re:Sounds like a big risk to me (1)

Jugalator (259273) | more than 3 years ago | (#36081756)

Haha, you may be right and you just reignited my IT bubble fears... :-/

All about the mobile... (5, Interesting)

Junta (36770) | more than 3 years ago | (#36081746)

Basically skype seems to have a *whole* lot of traction/brand recognition. MS wants to control that to prop up their struggling mobile phone play (read: screw over iOS/Android/etc users). Torpedoing Linux support will probably be just side-effect.

My hope is that MS has the causative relationship reversed. Skype is ubiquitous because they endeavour to work on all devices. If Skype becomes an Xbox/Windows/Windows Phone play, I expect their subscriber base to evaporate.

Re:Sounds like a big risk to me (1)

Hatta (162192) | more than 3 years ago | (#36081812)

Microsoft already has the technology necessary in their own audio/video/text Windows Live Messenger platform. So I don't think it's about that.

Skype:WLM::YouTube:Google Video

Just think is MS had bought T-Mobile... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36082040)

...instead of AT&T buying T-Mo to monopolize the GSM market in the US.

If MS is so bent on being a big player in the smartphone world, it would've made sense for them to own their own wireless carrier network too.

Skype SUX (1)

TechNit (448230) | more than 3 years ago | (#36081676)

I always found Skype to be an annoying piece of shit. I get far too much spam from Skype. MSFT deserves them.

Better than facebook buying it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36081704)

The last thing we need is for facebook to get any bigger. I'd rather see Microsoft at the top than a MS/google/FB split.

Re:Better than facebook buying it (1)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | more than 3 years ago | (#36081774)

I'm torn as to whether Microsoft or Facebook buying Skype would be worse. Facebook buying Skype would definitely be worse for privacy and what little is left of communication openness. Microsoft would slowly make Skype Windows-only using EEE tactics and would probably try to tie it into Xbox Live (I know it doesn't make sense, but Microsoft doesn't make sense).

If a megacorporation has to assimilate Skype into i's collective, it should be Google. There will probably be some Facebook-like privacy consequences but at least Google is relatively good about openness.

Antitrust? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36081714)

A convicted monopolist buys out an effective monopoly in a related market? There is pretty much *no* reason for them to be buying Skype other than to abuse the monopoly they have. Coming so soon after the Nokia fiasco it is clear that Microsoft is still as shady as it has ever been and needs to be reigned in.

It's all about encryption (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36081730)

Finally, the last company who resisted in opening their encryption protocol falls into US hands.
Skype made many governments around the world very unhappy.

Now, Skype being US based joins gmail. yahoo, facebook and other intelligence gathering tools.

Re:It's all about encryption (1)

AHuxley (892839) | more than 3 years ago | (#36082026)

I think your right. This brings the historically not so easy to tap telco system http://arstechnica.com/software/news/2008/01/bavarian-government-caught-looking-for-skype-backdoor.ars [arstechnica.com]
back into the US crypto fold.
The simultaneous online connections count "typically 20-30 million online at any one moment" will get the NSA ip/voice print mirror.
http://arstechnica.com/microsoft/news/2011/05/wsj-microsoft-to-buy-skype-for-7bn-rest-of-world-for-real.ars [arstechnica.com]
Whats in this for MS? Next gen lcd top HD sofa chat? Text/video to a cell? The codec? The huge user base? The brand? To stop cross platform/web 2.0 brand drift?
For that price? MS has the hardware, software, a community (both social and corporate) using its products. A small effort to rebrand existing products as one would have done it.

What it means for Linux users... (5, Informative)

perrin (891) | more than 3 years ago | (#36081796)

According to the press release itself: "Microsoft will continue to invest in and support Skype clients on non-Microsoft platforms." However, this is Microsoft, and we know how they operate. This is unlikely to be anything but a ploy to avoid objections from the authorities to the purchase. Once it is too late to stop it, I predict not a single update will go into the Linux and Android versions, and the Mac and iPhone versions will lag behind in features. So the question is what alternatives there are now.

Another question is what Google, Facebook and Cisco will do now. If I were on the board of any of them, I'd certainly be pushing for pooling resources to create a joint venture to compete with Skype on all fronts. Could set up quite the consortium for the money they intended to spend buying Skype themselves.

Interesting times.

Re:What it means for Linux users... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36081974)

When was the linux client last updated? Before the previous buyout wasn't it?

hmm (1)

sentientbeing (688713) | more than 3 years ago | (#36081832)

I suspect this is a preemptive strike by MS to stop Facebook snagging Skype, for which it would be an excellent fit. Facebook and its tasty, tasty advertising

Re:hmm (1)

Ed Bugg (2024) | more than 3 years ago | (#36081972)

I suspect this is a preemptive strike by MS to stop Facebook snagging Skype, ...

I view this as the real investment. It's not to get any synergy from Skype but to prevent what could happen to the Windows Live platform if FaceBook were to assimilate Skype. Once they have Skype, they are going to let it burn, in my opinion.

The future holds open standard skype like apps (1)

jim_kaiser (1696460) | more than 3 years ago | (#36081874)

If Skype is longer supported on linux and mac based platforms... then it would create a void which others would gladly fill. Already it has competitors commercially (mostly in the conferencing space). Also it seems that Skype has a proprietary protocol.. so others messengers cannot be used to communicate with Skype users. Of course this means, some Skype users on windows might also make a shift.. if all their buddies are on other platforms and can't get on Skype.. So it would be wise for them to continue to provide Skype for all platform even if not the latest version..

I may be blind.... (1)

bernywork (57298) | more than 3 years ago | (#36081886)

But, I just don't see it....

What are they going to do, integrate it with Windows? Use it as a protocol as part of Office Communicator? Office Communicator uses SIP though (Funnily enough for MS an external standard), so unless they are going to gateway it.... At this point, it just makes more sense to buy a license to the protocol, and not the whole company. Flip the coin to the other side of the fence (To the customer side) and do you think they want to have their bandwidth used as part of the P2P network which is Skype?

I could SORTA see Google using it to expand their reach of Google Voice, but still, given the amount of money that they have, why not go for organic growth, just advertise it and and wait?

Unfortunately, I just don't see the point in Skype when talking about alll this. I see them as basically the ICQ or AIM of voice platforms, sure loads of people use / used it, but at the end of the day the protocol for communication is proprietry. Nearly everyone is embracing XMPP in same shape or form, whether using it internally or externally or both. Hell, Cisco BOUGHT Jabber. This allows people to easily create federations, to automatically connect to users from other domains etc etc.

Someone want to tell me where the synergy is here? Why this is a great idea?

two words.... (2)

tekrat (242117) | more than 3 years ago | (#36082004)

Patent Portfolio.

This looks like a move to BLOCK Facebook and/or Google expansion into this area. And when either of these companies move in anyhow, out come the lawsuits.
 

Microsoft or Facebook? (1)

david.emery (127135) | more than 3 years ago | (#36081890)

I characterized this as a choice between the "old evil" and the "new evil" (fully acknowledging my bias against both companies...) Would the /. community be more comfortable with Skype as a Facebook product?

Re:Microsoft or Facebook? (1)

robinsonne (952701) | more than 3 years ago | (#36082048)

Just about anyone would be better buying it than Facebook IMHO.

A Little Bit of an Exaggeration there... (-1)

damn_registrars (1103043) | more than 3 years ago | (#36081936)

We know that

one trillion readers

Did not write in, because slashdot has never had anywhere near that many readers. And considering the current volume here, even one thousand might be stretching it. Sure its big news that Skype is being sold, but why would several orders of magnitude more people than the number who actually read and post here suddenly climb over each other to write this piece of news in to this particular site?

In other words, to quote the slashdot conservative hero who interrupted the state of the union address a couple years ago:

YOU LIE

This is good news. (1)

Antony-Kyre (807195) | more than 3 years ago | (#36081940)

This is good news if it means Facebook and Google not buying it. I'd much rather have Microsoft own them than risk my privacy with Facebook and Google.

Maybe it won't be so bad. Hotmail isn't half bad since Microsoft bought them (was a Hotmailer before it was Microsoftized).

Those guys at Skype are amazing (1)

Tangential (266113) | more than 3 years ago | (#36081950)

My hat is off to them

First they sucker eBay into buying them for a lot of money. Then eBay eventually figures out that it was a mistake and sells it back for chump change.

Now they've sold it M$ for even more money. The folks in Redmond will phase the management team out in a year or so (but they're happy and rich so they won't care.) Then they'll let the product drift for a bit and eventually it will be assimilated into their portfolio of OK-to-mediocre products and become part of the load of crap software that comes pre-installed on PCs. That will insure that they have a lot of users. How they will monetize it remains to be seen.

MS reputation so bad-forced to buy customer base? (1)

NZheretic (23872) | more than 3 years ago | (#36081952)

Has Microsoft's reputation with the public sunk to such a low point where they are now forced to acquire other Internet companies in a desperate attempt to expand Microsoft's internet/Live customer base by proxy?

Re:MS reputation so bad-forced to buy customer bas (1)

david.emery (127135) | more than 3 years ago | (#36082008)

Hey, don't forget that many, if not most of Microsoft's most successful products started out as acquisitions. That includes Office and IE. So buying a product and Microsoftizing it is nothing new for Redmond.

What next? (1)

Reprint001 (1838702) | more than 3 years ago | (#36081962)

Oracle buys sun and then slowly shuts down OpenOffice. MS buys Skype and will slowly (probably rapidly more like) shutdown Linux support. What other useful apps are there that offer cross platform support for Linux and can be wiped out by simply buying the company? Dropbox next?

Re:What next? (1)

ledow (319597) | more than 3 years ago | (#36082072)

OpenOffice was open-source. As such it still exists elsewhere and (I don't think it's harsh to say) the original OO, from the community, to download numbers to feature support, is dead.

Skype is closed-source. There isn't any way that it could continue without the owner's support.

You can only "wipe out" something that isn't open-source. Most of Linux, and most of the "big apps" on Linux are open-source, and hence have been pretty immortal up until now.

Dropbox isn't open-source (from the server side). Thus it's just as likely to die a death, like any "cloud" faddy thing around today.

All those people who rely on closed-source things should have noticed a pattern by now. OO "dies", LO "is born". The "official" Java dies, they are already alternatives. Netscape "dies" and things like Mozilla carry on.

I wouldn't bet on Skype being "the" video tool in a year's time. In fact, I probably wouldn't bet on it still existing in a recognisable form.

Another thought: Skype/VoIP built into Cars? (2)

david.emery (127135) | more than 3 years ago | (#36081994)

With the Microsoft/Ford collaboration, what if Microsoft built Skype into the next version of their car software?

Could Microsoft be looking for a 'great convergence' of voice between cell phones, computers, cars, TVs/consoles (Xbox), etc? They have the smarts, but do they have the business vision to pull this off? And if they do, how open/closed would the resulting system be?

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