Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Skype Sale Means Game is Afoot

Microsoft put itself back in the telecom future using the oldest trick in the Bill Gates playbook: buy somebody doing it right. In offering up over eight billion for Skype, Microsoft shows that the path to end users is mobile. How did I reach that conclusion? The Legions of the Blue Screen of Death only go after outside tech companies in areas they think are crucial to their survival. There is great media coverage on this at SF Gate.

When Microsoft began to pursue a more aggressive cloud strategy, it also started more aggressive promotion of it's mobile telephone operating system.

This reminds me of the last days of Window Media Encoder. WME was a standard for audio and video we all used, but Flash was starting to take over the Internet. MIcrosoft countered with Silverlight and used the Beijing Olympics and NBC as the launch point. But the tech failed when it went to MLB, and since Silverlight has gone through significant changes and lost considerable market share.

It appears this time through, Microsoft decided to get a gold standard instead of trying to create one, avoiding the Silverlight debacle.

Here's another angle that comes to mind. So here is MIcrosoft wanting to counter Apple and Google in the growing mobile market. The iOS FaceTime is a little clunky and not great, but it is typical Apple - easy to use and good enough for the average user. Android is open to Skype, the clear leader in this area. Apple wised up and let the Skype app onto the iOS.

Now Redmond owns it. Is it about to be a redeux of the Jobs thinks Flash is a security problem and Skype disappears from iPhones?

What's the takeaway for my college media relations colleagues in all my geekness today? Remember how I've been preaching getting your apps and focusing on social media messaging to the Web 3.0 mobile world?

Microsoft just laid down an $8 billion bet that I'm right. Steve Balmer does not like to be wrong.

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