Microsoft buys Skype for $8.5 billion; creates new business division

microsoft skype

The rumors were right. Microsoft announced on May 10 that it bought Skype, an Internet communications vendor, for $8.5 billion.

Instead of trying to mash Skype into an existing Microsoft business division, the company has decided to create a new, separate Skype business division, with Skype CEO Tony Bates as the newly minted President. Bates will report directly to Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer.

In its press release announcing the deal, Microsoft played up the potential synergies between Skype and its own communications offerings, including its Lync VOIP platform, Outlook mail, Messenger instant-messaging, Hotmail Web mail and Xbox Live gaming service.

“Skype will support Microsoft devices like Xbox and Kinect, Windows Phone and a wide array of Windows devices, and Microsoft will connect Skype users with Lync, Outlook, Xbox Live and other communities. Microsoft will continue to invest in and support Skype clients on non-Microsoft platforms,”
said the release.

Microsoft offered no timetable or further details as to when and how it will make Skype available as part of any of its existing product offerings.

According to earlier reports, Microsoft was bidding against Google and Facebook for Skype. As my colleague Larry Dignan noted, the $8.5 billion Skype purchase price made for one expensive game of keepaway.

Today’s deal with Skype marks Microsoft’s largest acquisition (dollar-wise) in the history of the company. For the past couple of years, Microsoft execs seemingly had decided that Microsoft’s history of assimilating successfully its big acquisitions (aQuantive, Danger, AdECN, Bungie, etc.) was not so great, resulting in the company shying away from anything but relatively minor, targeted acquisitions

  • Xbox 360 Kinect + SkypeTV: There is already a video chat feature on the Kinect but a Skype-login and interface could encourage more people to make this a part of their Xbox experience. Skype is already on some televisions so integration with the Xbox seems to be a good fit.
  • Windows 7 OS + Nokia + Skype: This could be quite a powerful combination as more and more smartphones are equipped with front-facing cameras and make use of the 4G network, which means video calls will only become the norm on mobile devices. Plus, it gives the partners an edge against Apple’s proprietary Facetime application. Skype users are also able to send SMS messages from the Web to handsets so this could be a great bonus for future customers with Nokia phones running Windows 7.
  • MSN Messenger + Skype: Hopefully, Messenger will be replaced with Skype because IMing on Skype is a breeze but uninstalling Messenger from machines running Windows is a hassle. The combination of Messenger and Skype users will give G-Chat and Google Voice some competition (perhaps to finally roll out to more countries)
  • Outlook + Skype: By integrating your Skype contacts with your email address book to make voice and video calls, Microsoft is looking to the beefed up Outlook to better compete with Gmail/G-Chat/Google Voice.
    MS Lync, Xbox Live + Skype: These new groups will expand Skype’s user base, according to the press release.

Last night, AllThingsD reported that Microsoft dealmaker Charles Songhurst was key in helping Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer broker the Skype deal. Interestingly, Songhurst also was credited with helping convince the Microsoft brass to call off the Yahoo acquisition.

Office 2013 details surface on the web

Hot on the heels of the official worldwide release of Office 2010 yesterday, details have surfaced on the next version of the award winning suite – Office 15, or its likely name, Office 2013.

Microsoft Kitchen is reporting that they located a PDF file hosted on a Microsoft-partner owned server, describing details regarding next version of Microsoft Office.

“By the time Office 2010 was released, some Microsoft Engineers had already begun work on the next version (code-named Office 15).”

Microsoft Kitchen also noted that a few Microsoft Employee’s have been writing information about products they are working on, into their LinkedIn profiles – Josh Leong has written on his LinkedIn profile that he is:

“Designing the new visual & interaction experience for Office 15.”

And Ben Gable’s profile says he has:

“Designed major new feature to be introduced in Office 15”

The post notes that there are other new changes that have been mentioned across the web, such as Office Mobile 15 being considered in the planning, that Collaboration is a key point in Office 15, and it should see an Improved Automation Framework. The UI change comes as quite odd, considering the effort Microsoft has put into the ribbon, and the integration they have built into Windows 7 and it’s built in applications, so it is very unknown how large the change could be.

It’s best to remember though, that these details can likely change, and this is very early in the lifecycle – considering Office 2010 was just released, it’s likely not many other details will emerge for a while.

Microsoft Download Manager for Windows

The Microsoft Download Manager enables you to download files from the Internet in a more reliable and faster way than using a browser alone.

Using the Download Manager makes it easier to download large files such as an application or multimedia files.

The Download Manager has been specifically designed to Manage file downloads from supporting Microsoft Web sites in a secure and reliable way.

Once started, the Download Manager displays an easy¬to-use interface that shows the status of downloads and enables you to resume downloads if they have failed.

The Microsoft Download Manager currently supports downloads from Web addresses starting with http://.

The Microsoft Download Manager requires one of the following operating systems: Windows XP SP2, Windows Vista, Windows 7, Windows Server 2003, Windows Server 2008, and supports the following Web browsers: Windows Internet Explorer 6, 7, 8 & Mozilla Firefox 2, 3.

Free eBook : Career Ideas from Microsoft

Microsoft is offering a free ebook: Own Your Future: Update Your Skills with Resources and Career Ideas from Microsoft, by Katherine Murray.

The ebook contains eight chapters and an appendix describing how you can assess and build your technology-based job skills.

In this book, students will find a wealth of Microsoft resources they can use to identify the technology skills they need, and gather knowledge and experience to help them take charge of their careers.

These resources will open doors to learning that will lead students to better opportunities and a deeper understanding of the way technology continues to change and improve the ways people work—both here in the U.S. and around the world.

Download Own Your Future: Update Your Skills with Resources and Career Ideas : XPS format | PDF format.

Ballmer: Microsoft Will Beat Google Eventually

Microsoft CEO is realistic but optimistic about the competition.

During an interview yesterday morning, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer talked about his thoughts on Twitter, Yahoo! and Google. Ballmer shared a lot of interesting information (including the fact that he has a twitter account under an undisclosed username for personal use), but the most interesting part of the interview was the CEO’s view on Google’s number one position in the search market.

As you can imagine, Steve Ballmer gets asked about overtaking Google in the search space a lot. Ballmer yesterday said that it’s a hard question to answer, stating that really, there’s no such thing as a ‘good’ response.

«There’s no good answer to this question. If you say yes you seem like you’re arrogant and if you say no it looks like you have no faith. So the answer is yes, someday,» Ballmer told Danny Sullivan from Search Engine Land.

Ballmer also said that Google’s biggest asset is just that they were first. «The truth is, the number one thing Google benefits from is they did it right first,» he said. Ballmer went on to say that search will be a bigger part of business for Microsoft going forward.

«I guarantee search is going to be a growing share of Microsoft’s profits. That means it’s first got to break even, then get bigger, but that’s a growing share the way I do my math,» he said. Ballmer said that Microsoft has also learned from Buzz, claiming that following the public backlash against Google’s microblogging service, Redmond has been thinking more about piracy.

Microsoft Boasts 90,000,000 Windows 7 Sold


Windows 7: Over 90 Million Served.

Even when Windows 7 launched into a warm reception (and brisk sales), Microsoft didn’t reveal exact sale numbers for its new OS – until today.

Microsoft CFO Peter Klein announced at the Morgan Stanley Technology, Media & Telecom Conference that Windows 7 has sold 90 million licenses to-date.

Up until recently, Microsoft’s company line when boasting about Windows 7 sales is that is the fastest selling operating system in history, but without any accompanying number.

Microsoft Wants Internet Tax to Keep PCs Clean


Healthcare reform for PCs.
While speaking at the RSA security conference in San Francisco, Microsoft Corporate Vice President for Trustworthy Computing Scott Charney told attendees that the technology industry needs to change in the way its approaches security issues.

The speech comes at the heels of Microsoft’s recent attempt to shut down the Waledac botnet through the court system. Microsoft has also spent millions to combat hackers and their devious programs slipping through minuscule OS and browser cracks.

«I actually think the health care model… might be an interesting way to think about the problem,» Charney said. PCWorld reports that he made references to government aide such as those provided by the Department of Social Services and the Department of Health, both of which provide healthcare programs to qualified Americans. Naturally, these are also funded by taxpayer dollars.

Borrowing the idea from the government, an Internet healthcare plan would inspect a computer and quarantine the «sick.» This would be ideal because, according to Charney, when a PC is infected with malware, it’s not only infecting the user, but contaminating friends and families at the same time–much like an epidemic.

But to make an Internet PC healthcare plan work, the system would need funds. «Maybe markets will make it work,» Charney said, possibly referring to ISPs. «You could say it’s a public safety issue and do it with general taxation.»

General taxation could work as an additional fee in a monthly subscription bill. The money generated from the «taxation» would fund an ISP-supplied software suite that provides malware, anti-virus, and firewall protection. However many ISPs already offer internal or re-branded software for free to subscribers, renewing once a year.

The installation of software suites provided by ISPs is not mandatory.