How Microsoft's Skype Acquisition Affect the Telecoms Industry?
At $8.5 billion, Skype represents a massive purchase for Microsoft, one that might just reshape the way we think about the company and its history of acquisitions. However, while the anti-competition committees might be happy about the purchase, the telecom companies might just have a problem.
As things stand, Skype is completely voluntary. No one has to have it on their computer or phone. But with Microsoft’s purchase, this changes things considerably. When Christmas 2012 comes around and people across North America, the EU and Asia open their new Windows 8 tablets, laptops and PCs, they could find that Skype is there, ready and waiting to be used. Native video, voice and text chat will be available to millions of people on the same day… and they will all want to try it.
As we know now, Skype is handy and easy to use, if a little unwieldy for certain functions. But by integrating it into the Windows 8 OS, Microsoft brings the service front and center, making it a key element of the Windows 8 experience.
Once the new Windows 8 users have made a video call to the other side of the planet and realised how easy Skype is to use, why should they bother making phone calls with an old-fashioned handset?
Microsoft had no reason to fear an anti-trust investigation with its purchase of Skype, because it’s the telecom companies and their industry regulators that are the real threat, not just to Redmond but to the wallets of people using the web. If standard domestic landline use drops in favor of Skype, then the telecom giants will see their profits fall, and the easy fix for them is to increase the cost of accessing the Internet.
It will be interesting to see how this one plays out. Interesting, and hopefully not too expensive for the end user.