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FTC Approves Microsoft's Takeover of Skype

samzenpus posted more than 2 years ago | from the it's-all-yours dept.

Microsoft 153

BigCorona writes "The US Federal Trade Commission said that it has approved Microsoft's $8.5 billion cash takeover of voice and video-over-IP provider Skype. Microsoft officially announced its intent to acquire Skype back on May 10 and since then users have been taking to Twitter to blame Microsoft for Skype's intermittent service. Now, with Reuters reporting that there has been antitrust approval of the deal, users will be able to turn to Microsoft when asking questions of Skype's sometimes-spotty service."

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153 comments

So.... the change is.... (3, Funny)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 2 years ago | (#36490686)

instead of not getting an answer from Skype we're now going to get no answer from MS?

Re:So.... the change is.... (4, Interesting)

PetoskeyGuy (648788) | more than 2 years ago | (#36490844)

Perhaps one change will be that PostgreSQL will no longer be moving forward so fast in the realm of free and open source high availability databases. Skype uses PostgreSQL for it's backend and has created SkyTools for managing replication and failover for a large numbers of servers. It's the biggest user I'm aware of, but I don't follow sql development that closely.

Maybe like hotmail running linux they will try to port it over to Azure or something. They could learn a lot.

More likely this gives the automatic ties to a global communication network that already has ties to the telecommunication systems. Windows Phones use skype instead of sms. Audio and video calls and conferencing at the cost of bandwidth. Huge installed user base on desktop, PC, iPhone and Android.

Like a game of go they just did a really neat move that opens up a lot of new possibilities for the future.

Re:So.... the change is.... (4, Interesting)

blind biker (1066130) | more than 2 years ago | (#36490928)

Maybe like hotmail running linux they will try to port it over to Azure or something.

Hotmail was running on FreeBSD. And when Microsoft took over Hotmail, they had a ton of problems when they tried to move it over to MS-only infrastructure. And then the clean Hotmail UI was replaced by the butt-ugly, commercials-encumbered abomination that Hotmail was up until a few years ago.

  It's still an abomination compared to the original Hotmail, by the way. I stopped using it shortly after the MS takeover, and had no reason to look back. I shudder to think what will happen to Skype.

Re:So.... the change is.... (2)

kelemvor4 (1980226) | more than 2 years ago | (#36491438)

These days you don't have to use the interface at all. Works perfectly with both outlook (which I like quite a bit) and even the baked in email program for android. I see the Hotmail UI maybe once a year.
I'm not saying the Hotmail UI isn't horrible, just that there's no need to use it now days.

Re:So.... the change is.... (1)

hedwards (940851) | more than 2 years ago | (#36491802)

That will be more complicated. Hotmail was fungible it was completely interoperable with other providers so the main pain was getting people to use the new address.

Skype is a little more complicated because you can't just drop in any replacement you want, and really if you're wanting a replacement, you probably want more than to just replace the client with something else, there are some downsides to the protocol as well.

Re:So.... the change is.... (2)

ShakaUVM (157947) | more than 2 years ago | (#36491992)

>>Hotmail was running on FreeBSD. And when Microsoft took over Hotmail, they had a ton of problems when they tried to move it over to MS-only infrastructure.

And moved it back. I had a friend working at Hotmail from 2004-2009 or so. He was hired as a UNIX programmer, to work on their backend stuff.

You can use adblockers to remove the ads from Hotmail. It's not bad - they have copied a lot of features from gmail by now. =)

Re:So.... the change is.... (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36492050)

I wonder what effect Microsoft will have on Skype. I mean, will Microsoft try to intervene or leave them be and just partake of the profits? Or maybe some side-ventures without affecting the protocal.

Because what I'm worried about is those of us who have Skype phones, like the CIT400, might end up with a brick down the line.

Re:So.... the change is.... (0)

The O Rly Factor (1977536) | more than 2 years ago | (#36491220)

Skype uses PostgreSQL for it's backend and has created SkyTools for managing replication and failover for a large numbers of servers.

So, converting a PostgreSQL backend to MSSQL? I predict the suicide rate for DBAs is about to skyrocket.

Re:So.... the change is.... (1)

aztracker1 (702135) | more than 2 years ago | (#36492170)

Not so sure about that, it really depends on which features and language extensions are used with PostgreSQL. If it's a lit of data with peer distribution, MS-SQL could be a pretty drop in replacement. The reality is, it depends. People with enough knowledge of both PostgreSQL and MS-SQL (I refuse to call it "SQL Server" without an MS prefix) to migrate a complicated DB application (meaning code in the DB) are few and far between.

Will Skype soon have problems like Hotmail? (1)

Futurepower(R) (558542) | more than 2 years ago | (#36491226)

The CEO of Microsoft apparently has little technical knowledge and no interest in learning. Do you see any evidence that someone like that can run a technology company successfully?

Will Skype become the Zune of VOIP? Will Skype begin having serious problems like Hotmail? [theinternetpatrol.com]

Will Windows 8, due next year, be another grab for money, like Windows Vista and Windows ME?

Re:Will Skype soon have problems like Hotmail? (4, Insightful)

Dracos (107777) | more than 2 years ago | (#36491250)

Will Skype become the Zune of VOIP?

No, because Skype is popular.

Re:So.... the change is.... (2)

OverlordQ (264228) | more than 2 years ago | (#36491582)

Perhaps one change will be that PostgreSQL will no longer be moving forward so fast in the realm of free and open source high availability databases.

Let's see a small selection of other people using Pg.

US State Department
whitepages.com
IMDB
Fujitsu
Sun
Apple
RedHat
Junipet
Cisco
NTT Data

I'm pretty sure most of these companies produce a lot more contributions to Pg then Skype ever did. Not to mention there's quite a few failover/replication suites for Pg

"Preemptive" (2, Informative)

tgd (2822) | more than 2 years ago | (#36490694)

*facepalm*

Premature. English isn't that hard, kids.

Re:"Preemptive" (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36490732)

The comma placement gives that statement an air of non-sequitur, bananas.

Re:"Preemptive" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36490752)

I like "preemptive", it conjures up a video of a Steve Ballmer press conference being replaced by a fast-scrolling stream of angry tweets.

Re:"Preemptive" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36490998)

Or.... perhaps the summary writer actually did mean preemptive?

Re:"Preemptive" (1)

Goaway (82658) | more than 2 years ago | (#36492074)

Probably not, since that word is no longer in the summary.

Now it just makes no sense.

Skype's lifespan? (3, Insightful)

Nynaeve70 (2232514) | more than 2 years ago | (#36490700)

I wouldn't be surprised if people aren't forced to use Windows Live to access Skype and go through the msn messenger. I fully expect Skype to be dead very, very shortly.

Re:Skype's lifespan? (1, Funny)

RotateLeftByte (797477) | more than 2 years ago | (#36490770)

And be only availabe with the Windows Ultimate edition thus forcing users into an expensive upgrade.
They have to get that whole shed load of money back somehow don't they?

Re:Skype's lifespan? (5, Insightful)

jawtheshark (198669) | more than 2 years ago | (#36490804)

Microsoft may be greedy and all, but that's very unlikely. Skype has been a consumer-oriented technology trying to upsell to companies (a bit like the anti virus companies of the day yonder). Expect this to be available to all Windows versions, except perhaps "Starter". However, expect it only to be available for Windows 7. Linux support will be lackluster (it wasn't already stellar in the first place) and be abandoned because of "lack of interest". The OS X version will be maintained but will always be feature wise behind and Apple will simply start a competing technology.

What I could see, is that it gets bundled with Microsoft Office or so... Under the guise of "collaboration" tool.

Re:Skype's lifespan? (2)

Richard_at_work (517087) | more than 2 years ago | (#36490990)

Apple doesn't need to start a competing technology, they already have their own proprietary tech - FaceTime.

Re:Skype's lifespan? (1)

jawtheshark (198669) | more than 2 years ago | (#36491034)

There you go... My wife is the Apple user in the household, I'm not all that up to date about their technologies. They only need to make it cross-platform, so Apple users can communicate with the lesser lifeforms on this planet and they have a Skype killer.

Re:Skype's lifespan? (3, Interesting)

Rennt (582550) | more than 2 years ago | (#36491254)

Which is pretty much worthless. If you are not multi-platform in this space nobody wants to know about it. The question is - does MS understand this, or is it going to run Skype into the ground trying to make it Windows exclusive.

Re:Skype's lifespan? (1)

aztracker1 (702135) | more than 2 years ago | (#36492198)

My guess is that MS will push into the SIP provider space with Exchange/AD integration similar to corporate messenger while continuing free/paid options for consumers.. I do see a drop of the Linux support and integration with Live Messenger.

Re:Skype's lifespan? (2)

BrokenHalo (565198) | more than 2 years ago | (#36491028)

You're probably more or less right. If Microsoft makes Skype a Windows-only program, they will not only alienate Linux and Mac users, but also Android and iPhone users. This would really make the acquisition pretty much pointless, since there's not much point in cutting off revenue streams.

What MS almost certainly will do, however, is fail to pass on any value they might (hypothetically) succeed in adding to the product to non-Windows users. This is fairly unlikely to make any difference to me, since I only use the voice and IM capabilities of the technology, which aren't really that bad in terms of quality and reliability.

Re:Skype's lifespan? (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36491642)

Most analysts suggest this was mostly a tax dodge to repatriate foreign profits into non-taxable assets that can later be counted as an expense against future earnings. US companies leave large piles of cash overseas to avoid taxes, which makes dividend seeking stock holders angry.

Re:Skype's lifespan is looking pretty long actuall (2)

dammy (131759) | more than 2 years ago | (#36491036)

I would say Skype is going to get some TLC on Linux side. Skype is free but the main revenue is using Skype as commercial service. This commercial service is a perfect vehicle for M$ to gain a revenue stream from Linux (box or droid users) that they normal would never see a dime from. Add Skype in new 7/8 installs, and that is a powerful method of dominating the VOIP market. I can easily see massive growth spike coming to Skype in the next two years.

Re:Skype's lifespan? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36490776)

I wouldn't be surprised if you never left your parents' basement.

Re:Skype's lifespan? (1)

dave420 (699308) | more than 2 years ago | (#36490800)

Just wait. I doubt MS will do such a retarded thing. The most likely plan is integrating it across all their platforms, including Windows, phones, consoles, and so forth. Leaping to ridiculous conclusions that requires them to spunk $8.5bn up the wall just to piss off non-Windows users and shrink their user-base massively is, in the words of BigCorona, ridiculously "preemptive".

Re:Skype's lifespan? (1)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | more than 2 years ago | (#36490992)

I do imagine they'll drop linux support entirely, but beyond that... they couldn't risk the damage to their new business from dropping support for anything more popular. I would guess that, as you suggest, they may want to intigrate it into the xbox. Why not? Xbox + kinect would make a good videophone, and could use the xbox's existing contacts management.

Re:Skype's lifespan? (1)

UnknowingFool (672806) | more than 2 years ago | (#36491126)

Depends on why they bought Skype. If they bought it just for technology, then there is less incentive to piss off current customers. I do expect nonWindows versions to suffer support problems and less frequent updates. Linux versions may be stopped altogether.

Re:Skype's lifespan? (2)

tsotha (720379) | more than 2 years ago | (#36492068)

What technology does Skype have that Microsoft doesn't already have or can't develop for a tiny fraction of the Skype acquisition?

Re:Skype's lifespan? (2)

BrokenHalo (565198) | more than 2 years ago | (#36491156)

Given that (according to Wikipedia) Microsoft has paid out 32 times Skype's operating profits for the acquisition, I would be inclined to guess (or rather hope) that they might have something more in mind than shutting the door on competitors. Ballmer might act the buffoon from time to time, but if he made any serious attempt to operate against shareholders' interests for purely capricious reasons, I suspect he might be in swift contact with the business end of a boot.

Re:Skype's lifespan? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36490820)

I give them about a year to do it. Microsoft has a proven track record. Microsoft partnerships between "peers" are terminal.

Re:Skype's lifespan? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36491168)

Ahoy! Unintended double negative on the horizon captain!

Linux Version (2)

doubleplusungodly (1929514) | more than 2 years ago | (#36490718)

There goes the Linux version of Skype (not that it was good, but you can expect it to lag further behind than the other platform versions or cease to exist altogether).

Re:Linux Version (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36490740)

Oh no! What are those six users going to do?

Re:Linux Version (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36490762)

Have to compile some scrappy program from source and talk to the other six users over an unsupported modified protocol.

Re:Linux Version (4, Interesting)

paradxum (67051) | more than 2 years ago | (#36490784)

you may laugh, but it is BECAUSE of the linux version that I and my entire family use skype.

The reason, it's simple. 3 of the 6 family members use either linux or mac.

What that means is 3 platforms all able to video chat. We don't care about versions or the "latest" features. If linux or mac support is dropped, we'll have to find something different. Video support just works on all the platforms with skype.

Re:Linux Version (1)

kyrre (197103) | more than 2 years ago | (#36490830)

You can use Google Talk with the video and voice plugin.

Re:Linux Version (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36490938)

You can use Google Talk with the video and voice plugin.

Not outside of the US.

Re:Linux Version (1)

BrokenHalo (565198) | more than 2 years ago | (#36491068)

As an AC said before me, that currently doesn't work outside the US, for some reason best known to Google. But there are many (myself included) who consider video calls to be something of an intrusion; coping with international calls with an 8 to 10 hour time difference is unlikely to present me at my best, whatever that might be, and I (for one) choose to spare my friends and relations.

Re:Linux Version (2)

Bert64 (520050) | more than 2 years ago | (#36491428)

It works fine outside of the US to talk to other users...
What doesn't work, is being able to route calls to/from regular phones with it, although you can integrate it into asterisk and handle call routing yourself.

Re:Linux Version (2)

Crasoose (1621969) | more than 2 years ago | (#36490900)

I actually had to use linux recently for some time and I found the linux version to be very refreshing. I'm not sure whether it's because of lack of updates or just a different design set, but at least in the linux version you don't have gigantic mandatory display pictures in each conversation window.

Re:Linux Version (2)

DrgnDancer (137700) | more than 2 years ago | (#36491070)

I use both pretty regularly (Linux on my laptop, Windows on my desktop, probably about equal use). I like the Linux UI better, but the software is clearly inferior in an absolute sense. It's much more likely to freeze video, distort audio, etc. It could be hardware differences I suppose, but the two systems are pretty comparable. Don't get me wrong, It's great to have anything that lets me video chat with my parent (Windows) and wife (Mac). The software is decent and usable, but clearly not as a high a priority as other clients.

Re:Linux Version (0)

RMS Eats Toejam (1693864) | more than 2 years ago | (#36491116)

gigantic mandatory display pictures in each conversation window.

You can mouse over the image and a small magnifying glass with a minus symbol appears. This lets you shrink the display picture, you fucking ignorant prick.

Re:Linux Version (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36490768)

Let's hope Google steps up. Google Talk sucks as a plugin and it never worked well for me over Pidgin/Empathy/OtherUniversalApp,

Re:Linux Version (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36492150)

Really? It works quite well for me, even with a spotty internet connection. It's a miracle compared to Skype or MagicJack or any of the other crap I've tried.

Re:Linux Version (2)

Teun (17872) | more than 2 years ago | (#36490884)

It is a native install on my N900 and it just works.

Lets hope someone at MS does not purposely introduce an incompatibility in the other versions.

MS and no future incompaibilities (1)

RotateLeftByte (797477) | more than 2 years ago | (#36491634)

and I see a squadron of Gloucester Old Spot Pigs flying in formation over London Heathrow Airport as I type this.

Skype - headed to a quick end (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36490796)

Skype -- seems destined, now, to head the way that everything else MSFT has headed. I don't actually know where that is, because so many pieces of tech have fallen into a void.

What are the alternatives? Yes, I'll pay, and no, it doesn't need to be open-source, but it does need to provide voice and video, and compatibility across multiple platforms, as well as chat (all of the things that Skype is so great for).

And, MSFT, in case you're reading this, no, I won't sign up if it requires me to have a Me account (or whatever you're calling it these days).

Alternatives? (3, Interesting)

peterhil (472239) | more than 2 years ago | (#36490824)

Ok, what alternatives does Skype have that work on Mac, Linux, FreeBSD and Windows? Preferably Open Source.

Re:Alternatives? (2)

Lord Byron II (671689) | more than 2 years ago | (#36491004)

It's no accident that your question hasn't gotten any replies. I don't understand why there isn't such a program. Most people would be happy with a cross-platform program that allows for computer-to-computer video conferencing. That's pretty easy:

-record audio
-record video
-transit/receive
-playback audio
-display video

Use a Skype-like distributed phonebook, so you don't have to have any centralized servers (or very, very few). Later, add a plugin system that is flexible enough to allow third-party companies to add support for computer-to-phone and phone-to-computer.

Re:Alternatives? (2)

jawtheshark (198669) | more than 2 years ago | (#36491074)

That's pretty easy:

If it really were that easy, it would exist. Superficially, you have indeed described what is necessary to do the deed and you claim that the rest is just implementation details. Well it's those "details" that make it hard. Think echo cancellation, and stuff like that. We have SIP, which can technically of the audio part. I don't know all that much about SIP except being able to configure hard-phones and asterisk servers, but I guess one could provide video as a SIP extension.

Re:Alternatives? (1)

Alex Belits (437) | more than 2 years ago | (#36491176)

Video is supported in SIP. The problem with SIP is, it works poorly with firewalls, this is why IAX2 exists (that also supports video and is more likely to be usable without giant central servers).

IAX or ...? (2)

TuringCheck (1989202) | more than 2 years ago | (#36491712)

Central servers are a good reason NOT to use IAX. It has this design problem - signaling and data are associated over a single pair of UDP sockets. SIP, Jingle, even H.323 all use RTP for media so the data is decoupled from signaling. This allows P2P transfer of high volume audio and video data. Various techniques exist to pass through a firewall and alternative transports can be used if needed, especially in Jingle which is more flexible. Now, if everybody would agree on a reasonable minimum set of transports and codecs there would be no need of Skype at all...

Re:Alternatives? (2)

JonySuede (1908576) | more than 2 years ago | (#36491790)

sip is a signalling protocol, it does not care about the data stream so you could stream text file with SIP and it still be SIP.

Re:Alternatives? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36491830)

I believe Apple's FaceTime is video on SIP.

Re:Alternatives? (1)

del_diablo (1747634) | more than 2 years ago | (#36491590)

1. Plugin systems are the source of all evils. Instead of doing something properly, you have halfbaked plugins conflicting over the implention. If plugins are going to be allowing, they must be approved. Adding plugins for the sake of "lol lets makre sure they are not forced to do a proper implention" is a really bad idea.
If what you are proposing is not a "plugin" but rather a set of spesific pipes, it could work.

2. You forgot adding "a sane user account scheme" to that list.
Something like battle.net for warcraft III, or what skype has, all you ask is "whats your skype name", and you get the answer "It is X" instead of "It is X, and then it is this spesific mailserver thingy at the end".
Fragmentation IS bad.

3. You forgot "it must under no circumstances require to be configed to work" on the list of requirements.

As for why something like this does not exist?
If you forced all the people from the different VoIP and IM lib projects together, you could have the manpower to actually make something like this.
A few idealists can not do this, because it requires expertize in several areas instead of 4-5.

Re:Alternatives? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36491022)

Google Talk (not open source, but works across Win/Lin/Mac)
http://www.google.com/support/chat/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=159499

SIP - Open source linux clients available which can be connected to a number of SIP providers out there.
http://www.sipbroker.com/

Re:Alternatives? (1)

rogueippacket (1977626) | more than 2 years ago | (#36491794)

In comparison to Skype, the answer is "not many" - however, everything required to create an alternative already exists, such as the plethora of open codecs from xiph.org, creators of Vorbis, Speex, and Theora, to name a few. Couple it with some kind of call control system, and you're off to the races. I suspect now that everyone is talking about alternatives - even my grandmother is wary of this acquisition - it won't take long for a replacement to appear.

Re:Alternatives? (1)

westlake (615356) | more than 2 years ago | (#36491828)

Ok, what alternatives does Skype have that work on Mac, Linux, FreeBSD and Windows? Preferably Open Source.

Nowhere are networking effects more important than in a telephone system.

There are about 700 million Skpe accounts.

The user can call out to almost land line bound or mobile phone on the planet - and the client is available for damn near every device which has a microphone, a camera, and a connection to the Internet.

Is it just me? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36490838)

Does it seem like they never oppose any acquisition? It seems like we could save some tax dollars then by just dissolving the FTC.

Re:Is it just me? (0)

Stormthirst (66538) | more than 2 years ago | (#36491130)

But where would all the FTC employees get their new jobs when they approve huge deals like this? Meredith Atwell Baker and her ilk would end up languishing in some Federal organisation for the rest of their careers. Oh wait ...

Users (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36490852)

users have been taking to Twitter to blame Microsoft for Skype's intermittent service

Yep, it turns out that users are still stupid.

"Takeover" (1)

tooslickvan (1061814) | more than 2 years ago | (#36490918)

Why use the word "takeover" when purchase more accurately describes what happened?

Re:"Takeover" (1)

Khyber (864651) | more than 2 years ago | (#36490934)

You must not know much about Microsoft's history. Embrace, Extend, Extinguish.

Re:"Takeover" (1)

tooslickvan (1061814) | more than 2 years ago | (#36490960)

Skype uses proprietary technology. There is nothing to embrace, extend, or extinguish unless you're implying Microsoft bought Skype simply to shut it down.

Re:"Takeover" (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36491112)

No, they bought Skype to add it's features to Windows Live, Xbox and their WP7 products.
WP7 cant catch Android & iOS by creating a better product so they're trying to force their way in using money.
They'll spend a few billion promoting it as the next big thing in communications. They'll end up ripping out the
guts and replacing it with a new improved NSA/DHS friendly encryption. It wont be extinguished but it will cease
to exist as a decent usable product.

Picture the adverts.. Dad in business meeting uses Wp7/Skype to talk to wife on Windows Live who then forwards the call
through to their 2.4 children where it pauses the xbox game so they can skype to their dad.

Re:"Takeover" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36491006)

Prejudice is OK if it's in the right spot.

To all Facebook Developers (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36490946)

I think we can all say thank god Facebook didn't buy them.

Oh, the irony (0)

vonWoland (615992) | more than 2 years ago | (#36490966)

"users shall soon be able to turn to Microsoft when asking questions of Skype's sometimes-spotty service.""

Because if there is one company that knows all about crappy service, it's Microsoft.

So long, Skype. You were good while you lasted.

Re:Oh, the irony (2)

artor3 (1344997) | more than 2 years ago | (#36491598)

Have you ever used MS customer service? It's easily one of the best. Short wait times, people who speak English, and they've always solved my problems quickly. I know it's hip to hate MS, but your attitude is dated.

Re:Oh, the irony (2)

aztracker1 (702135) | more than 2 years ago | (#36492230)

I was going to mention there is a cost (usually) to calling MS, but at least you can. Try filing a bug report with Google sometime and/or getting a real person.

Quis custodiet? (1)

frisket (149522) | more than 2 years ago | (#36491066)

...users shall soon be able to turn to Microsoft when asking questions of Skype's sometimes-spotty service.

Fat lot of use that will be...particularly if you're not using Windows.

The problem is that the only alternative (SIP) sucks little black toads: abysmal audio quality, ludicrous registration procedures, non-existent global directory services, and far too many competing clients.

Don't get me wrong: I'm all in favour of open standards and open source and open competition, but with no-one at the helm, and a standard that is trying to be all things to everyone, SIP is going nowhere very fast.

Re:Quis custodiet? (2)

jawtheshark (198669) | more than 2 years ago | (#36491132)

You're probably using SIP at work daily without you even knowing it. All our office phones are Cisco 79nn phones with the SIP firmware. How do I know? I friggin set them up in conjunction with an asterisk sever. Sound quality is excellent.

The software phones are horrible. I agree, I've tried some and none really convinced me.

A big company like Google needs to get behind it, integrate it with is services and make a client that will become the defacto most popular software phone. I might see them do that if they really are serious about the Chromebooks. Skype won't run on it, with Microsoft owning it, it won't get implemented.

Of course, in the end the choice will be between Microsoft or Google, which to many slashdotters is not really a great choice either.

Re:Quis custodiet? (1)

daemonc (145175) | more than 2 years ago | (#36491290)

(SIP) sucks little black toads: abysmal audio quality, ludicrous registration procedures, non-existent global directory services, and far too many competing clients.

All of these things are true except for the audio quality*. SIP does not specify any particular audio codec. There are high quality codecs available, it's up to the clients to support them. So, I don't see how having many competing clients is a bad thing.

* And possibly the toads. I have not had any toad related issues on my PBX yet.

It could be moot (1)

twoears (1514043) | more than 2 years ago | (#36491102)

If and when Google adds webcam (phonecam) to Google Voice as more and more smart phones have front facing cameras, Skype could be rendered irrelevant.

Google Talk (1)

crow (16139) | more than 2 years ago | (#36491604)

You mean like Google Talk? I use that, as it's the only solution that I've found that works on Android, Windows, Mac, and Linux.

FTC approval process merely a formality. (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36491188)

When is the last time the FTC has denied a merger (to someone other than Google)?

So... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36491240)

No more calling Cuba as it's not American, I take?

Umm... (3, Interesting)

Tasha26 (1613349) | more than 2 years ago | (#36491262)

so what's a good skype alternative then?

Re:Umm... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36491868)

I am wondering myself. I don't want to go through the pain to explain everybody i know how SIP works.

I think for starters i'll migrate to google voice. Or i'll get myself a mumble server...

Nothing like the smell of FUD (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36491294)

Keep 'em coming, guys.

Likely much better than Ebay (2)

retroworks (652802) | more than 2 years ago | (#36491308)

Some of the commenters seem to be forgetting that Skype has not been an independent free service company since 2005, when it was purchased and left to flounder by ebay.com It's a European company, based in Luxemburg and Estonia, and the EU will probably keep Microsoft from messing it up, though I don't think it's clear that MS would be prone to do that.

Will the protocols be opened? (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36491350)

Does this fall under the DOJ's antitrust oversight? If so, will Microsoft have to publish the Skype protocols [microsoft.com] as they have for their other products?

Any one phoned Vegas? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36491690)

I would guess the odds are pretty short on MS running this one into the ground in five years.

Linux Skype (1)

TheSpoom (715771) | more than 2 years ago | (#36491718)

Somehow I think the first move that Microsoft will make upon assuming control is to kill off Linux Skype. As usual, mergers end up screwing everyone, employees, users, and vendors alike, except upper management.

RE: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36491834)

Time to drop Skype every! Google Voice can be a good replacement.
Screw Microsoft - FAIL COMPANY.

Skype renamed Windows Bing Voice (0)

David Gerard (12369) | more than 2 years ago | (#36491844)

Microsoft remains on the bleeding edge of innovation with its completely new-from-the-ground-up Windows Bing Voice Internet phone platform [newstechnica.com], formerly known as Skype.

Windows Bing Voice was developed entirely in-house at an acquisition cost of only $8.5 billion. "Our developer teams know the meaning of confidentiality," said Steve Ballmer. "Heck, even they didn't know it was Skype until today. That's how, uh, stealth we are."

The new Windows Bing Voice client will be included with Windows Phone 7, Office 365, Kin and Zune. "Microsoft will continue to invest in and support Skype clients on non-Microsoft platforms! On a case by case time and availability basis, of course. We'll give our Mac Business Unit developer details for Windows Bing Voice 2011 Ultimate Edition by 2013, for sure."

Service is expected to remain "at 100%" as the server infrastructure is moved from Linux to Windows, though Microsoft has not specified what that will be 100% of. The peer-to-peer functionality of Skype will also be harnessed to distribute Windows updates and Windows Genuine Advantage serial number blacklists.

Google said that the Google Voice servers were "holding up well" under the influx of new users.

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