Does that sound weird to anyone else?
The MS Skype thing is big for a lot of reasons. One obvious BIG reason is the valuation – $8.5 BILLION for a company that is losing money and the vast majority of its “customers” don’t pay a dime. It’s big because it may actually be worth it. At a time while so many VoIP vendors are hurting – the Skype investors are laughing all the way to the bank by giving away free VoIP.
I’ve been writing/talking about MS Skype now for a few weeks.
- BEFORE THE DEAL happened: Microsoft Should Buy Skype
- Right after (rushed due to travel to Interop): Like a Horse and Carriage
- Podcast (at Interop): UCStrategies Reaction
- Of course it came up at Interop on various panels.
- At GigaOm Pro: Strategic Implications of
- Queued at Voice Report with an Enterprise Perspective (will update when published)
Things were just beginning to settle, when this Skype Asterisk thing broke loose.
Skype For Asterisk Was Already Dead.
That story is much sadder – because killing off Skype for Asterisk is a step backward.
NoJitter.com asked for a Skype for Asterisk piece – and I ended up taking an approach that surprised me. The post was titled Skype, Asterisk, and Microsoft and reflects an evolving perspective toward the value of Skype. I really feel that killing off Skype for Asterisk is a tragedy, not just for Digium, but Microsoft as well and I hope Microsoft resurrects it as well as other rich interfaces to enterprise communication systems. More on that separately.
Here are some general conclusions regarding the deal:
- Microsoft isn’t dead. They’ve been easy to dismiss with their arrogance and misfires – but there are some very smart people there, they have a lot of cash, and Office is a powerhouse.
- The acquisition will be remembered as the clearest indication of a major transition in technology. Microsoft became a huge vendor by selling software – the tech giants today don’t sell software – Facebook, Twitter, Google, Amazon, Salesforce – either rent software or give it away. This is not a trivial transition.
- VoiP isn’t dead – far from it. Skype posted a $7 Million dollar 2010 loss and still fetched a premium valuation. The term VoIP isn’t so cool – but real time communications is where it is at.
- Skype executed magnificently on mobile – multi-platform, multi-carrier, multi-national, multi-modal.
- Skype is about to experience radical change – new owners should be enough, but I think Microsoft’s plans for Skype are very different than its current plans. I also think Government scrutiny and regulation will be turned up on Skype – little upstarts are one thing – mega corps are another. It won’t be just here in the US either – Skype is going to be hiring a lot of lawyers and lobbyists over the next few years.
- The media keeps saying the success of the transaction won’t be known for a couple years… I disagree. The success and brilliance of the transaction is known now – I applaud it. Microsoft buying Skype took vision and courage – that’s why it was so unexpected. Over the next two years we will judge the execution and reaction – that may or may not be a success.