Microsoft, Skype And The Connected Home

  • Posted on: 21 May 2011
  • By: Patrick Oliphant

I have read mix opinions on the recent acquisition of Skype by Microsoft, for about $8.5 billion. Some thinks it’s a waist of money and believe it could be better spent on some of Microsoft own systems and strategies.  Others said why buy Skype when they [Microsoft] already have a Lync, their own unified communication platform.  From a connected home point of view, I personally think a lot can come out of this acquisition and marriage of technologies based on the direction I see the market going.

I believe in the future we will be using a lot more video calls as a means to communicate and at the moment Skype is the most recognised video call brand for home users followed by MSN. Therefore, I see this as a strategic move by Microsoft to gain a bigger foot hold in the connected home market as the need for real-time video calls grows.

Microsoft is already working on a host of connected home solutions (Microsoft Home); they already have Messenger Live with about 300 million and now they have added Skype’s 660 million users (over 60 percent of Skype users uses it for none business purposes). The connected home market is growing and represents the next big thing in consumer electronics and telecommunications, this acquisition means Microsoft is well placed to take advantage of this billion dollar market.

Already Skype is available on leading brands of televisions, The VIERA HDTV from Panasonic, Sony’s Blu-ray disk-players and LG home entertainment systems.  If and when Microsoft integrates Skype’s platform into today’s connected and mobile platform residential customers will find more use for their televisions. Imagine Skype on tablets and smartphones, the bandwidth is getting better. Microsoft was recently beat Google to become the choice smartphone OS for Nokia.

With Outlook, Messenger, Hotmail, Xbox LIVE and now Skype Microsoft set to own a big chunk of our next generation communication solutions.  According to Steve Ballmer, Microsoft’s CEO, “Together we will create the future of real-time communications so people can easily stay connected to family, friends, clients and colleagues anywhere in the world.”