Microsoft (news, site) has confirmed that it is buying Skype, making the product ubiquitous across MS's Windows universe, Xbox games consoles and phones. But what have the two companies got to say for themselves, as they speak in public for the first time?
Not Starting With a Kiss?
Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer and Skype CEO Tony Bates took the stage just minutes ago to announce the Windows company's acquisition of the VoIP company. In the hours since the deal was confirmed, it has become apparent just how far Microsoft can run with Skype, using it to power communications through the enterprise, in home computing, console and mobile worlds.
First up, it should be pointed out that Skype will continue to be offered on non-Microsoft technology. That includes Apple's iPhone, Sony's PlayStation Portable and other platforms/devices.
Steve Ballmer shows off the Microsoft ecosystem that Skype can thrive in
Ballmer: A Better Experience
"Today is a big day for Microsoft and Skype, bringing out the best of both," Ballmer started, before going on to talk about communications and how it will be a seamless experience in the future regardless of device and distance. From group meetings to friends and family, Skype -- so successful it has become a verb -- can benefit almost anyone and Microsoft can see the opportunity for people to communicate across its products.
He also talked about engaged users, with Skype users racking up vast amounts of minutes and with over 25 million concurrent users on the service at a time. He went on to discuss how both companies already work together with Skype on Windows platforms. Talking business, he stated that Microsoft made an unsolicited offer for Skype in mid-April that was accepted.
Notes from the briefing hint at a massive future for Skype
From the Skype Side
English CEO Tony Bates then took the stage and told of Skype's 170 million users, many of whom use over 100 minutes a month. He highlighted the fast growth opportunity and the benefits that it now gets from partnering with Microsoft.
He stated that the business is fundamentally sound and stands to accelerate rapidly once the deal is complete. This will revolve around the social and mobile space, rich communications and the rise of video communications. Some 40% of Skype traffic is already video and this could become a valuable part of the advertising growth.
So, there is a clear focus from both parties, and a definite drive to see the deal and future focus through. All that remains is the execution, which will depend on many factors, not least how those millions of existing users decide to move. It also provides a challenge for other players such as Google and Viber, which can feel threatened or see their own opportunities in this deal.
UPDATE: We've added the on-demand rerun of the press event below:
Do you think the deal will be good for Skype? If you're an existing Skype user, do you see this as a good or bad move, let us know in the comments.