There’s been quite a bit of noise already about what Microsoft intends to do with Skype. Coming from a video background, my interest here is in the development of Skype as a platform for ubiquitous video calling. Whilst consumers have really taken to Skype video like ducks to water, Businesses have remained reticent over security and interoperability concerns. What will Microsoft bring to the party then?
Everything hinges on whether Microsoft sees Skype as a platform it can leverage through standards to drive ubiquitous video communications, or as a means of capturing a large customer base which they leverage to consume more Microsoft services through integration with Skype. The two aren’t mutually exclusive either, and I hope that we do see standards based interfaces to the Skype network.
Microsoft are maturing, they realise that customers don’t like being enclosed in islands, (see this article yesterday about bringing Chrome support to Office Web Apps), and that their competitive advantage stems from giving customers a better experience that the other guy can give, agnostic of which browser you happen to be using (enabled by HTML5).
I personally see MS taking Skype and really pushing the hosted video as a service proposition to businesses alongside their other SaaS propositions, but for businesses to buy it, they will have to be satisfied that the platform is trustworthy, reliable and interoperable with other video networks.