Today, the 10th of May, 2011, the giant Microsoft Corporation announced they have paid a massive $8.5 billion for online phone company Skype.
Skype, developed on 2003, revolutionized online telecommunications, enabling people to talk to others via computer video-link or voice in other countries across the globe, for free. They also offer low cost calls via computer or Skype phone to land-lines anywhere in the world, enabling affordable calls between those separated by distance.
Skype was previously sold to eBay at a cost of $2.4 billion in 2005. There was speculation that Skype would be integrated to allow buyers to chat to sellers and vice-versa. This never came about, and eBay later sold on 70% of the company to a group of private equity investors for $2 billion.
Their investments have done very well with this latest sale to Microsoft, netting them a net profit of almost $4 billion, with, of course, Ebay recouping more than its original investment with their 30% share.
Microsoft is now in a prime position to ward off the latest competition from Google Voice and growing platform, Apple’s Facetime.
The future is exciting too. Microsoft plan to incorporate Skype into their flagship Office program, as well as Kinect and X Box 360 gaming consoles. Their new Windows 7 phone will be Skype compatible, and visionaries can look to a future of simple video-conferencing which has wider ranging applications which could include one to one tuition or patient care not only globally but locally.
Skype operates on multiple platforms including Apple and Linux, giving it a wider range of uses.
Skype already has over 600 million customers worldwide, and being bought over by Microsoft can only see this huge database widening giving greater choice and flexibility to the consumer.