Posted by: kurtsh | December 26, 2011

INFO: Skype & it’s alignment with Microsoft’s big bets

imageSkype’s alignment with Microsoft’s business initiatives couldn’t be better. 

UNIFIED COMMUNICATIONS IS THE FUTURE… OF PERSONAL COMPUTING
Unified communications for businesses & consumers over packet-based networks is a major usage scenario of personal computing & if you don’t believe that, you should probably look at the transition & transformation being made by the telcos to packet-based services.

Unified communications includes presence, instant messaging, voicemail, audio communications, video communications, data sharing, voice/video/data conferencing, PBX/POTS integration, etc. and this level of complexity requires the power and the interface of the computer.

WHAT DOES SKYPE PROVIDE
If you assume that Unified Communications is one of the next generation’s ‘inevitable technologies’, you have to examine how an acquisition of an IP-based telco like Skype could make a tremendous amount of sense for a technology company like Microsoft in the UC space – not to mention providing Microsoft with a massive strategic advantage as a GENERAL business/consumer technology provider.

At the basest level, Skype provides the following:

  • Largest VOIP customer-base in the world
  • Complete advertising platform
  • Worldwide POTS connectivity & presence
  • Cross-platform integration
  • Patents & technologies in audio/video communications

Now apply these benefits to Microsoft’s existing initiatives and you can see how the acquisition’s alignment with Microsoft’s ‘big bets’ is excellent.

  1. SKYPE & LYNC 2010:
    Small & medium businesses now have an opportunity to bridge their Skype implementations with manageable Lync 2010 solutions. Use your Skype solutions and when you wanna grow up… here’s Lync.
  2. SKYPE & WINDOWS LIVE MESSENGER
    #1 consumer VOIP solution in the world? Meet the #1 instant messaging solution in the world. Now hook up and play nice. Make the directories “be one”. Provide Windows Live authentication for Skype.  Booya.
  3. SKYPE & WINDOWS PHONE 7
    Skype – now shipping on every Windows Phone 7 device, including those from Nokia & their worldwide distribution network. The best client engineered for the best mobile phone platform. Guaranteed to be there. Forever.
  4. SKYPE & WINDOWS 7/8-BASED SLATES
    Every Windows slate will be a phone via Bluetooth headset. With the infrastructure to back it. Guaranteed. And with Windows 8, it’ll fit natively right into the OS’s touchable interface – perfect for a softphone.
  5. SKYPE IN EVERY MICROSOFT STORE
    Skype peripherals, Skype subscriptions/credits, Skype installations on Windows PCs. All on parade at our stores. Need to learng Skype?  Go to the store.  Need to set up Skype?  Go to the store.  Need some peripherals optimized for Skype?  Go to the store.  Get the picture?
  6. SKYPE & MICROSOFT ADVERTISING
    Skype’s recent release of advertising in their VOIP client opens a new target for Microsoft Advertising: 150M Skype users. The ability for ad sales folks to tout such a rich based of advertising targets inherently strengthens ad sales & thus other ad-driven properties… like Bing.
  7. SKYPE & XBOX 360/KINECT
    And did you forget that Xbox 360’s Kinect provides video & audio calls over the Internet? Now make that a reality by connecting with any Skype user as well.
  8. SKYPE & OFFICE 365
    This is the killer. Remember that that Skype is big in small/medium biz. Office 365 provide Lync Unified Communications (voice, video, data, conferencing, etc.) & Exchange messaging in the cloud. Now you’ve got Skype which provides adhoc voice & video telecom along with 150M active users.

One of the biggest benefits of Skype in my mind is it’s cross-platform availability.  This virtually guarantees ubiquity with no great investment on Microsoft’s part, making it an easy leader in the UC space.  Unlike other unified communications players in both the consumer & enterprise space, Microsoft effectively has the #1 position for both:

  • Consumer unified communications
    (Skype, #1 consumer UC client + Windows Live Messenger, #1 IM client)
  • Mobile unified communications
    (only mobile device UC client available on all major mobile operating systems
  • Enterprise unified communications
    (Lync 2010 – rated #1 UC platform by Gartner)

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