A Window into Skype

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[Ohh I am pleased with myself for that title.] So Microsoft agreed to acquire Skype for $8.5b today. Given my present Microsoft affiliation let me not comment on what this all means — I haven’t really thought about it — but let me give you a quick insight into how the phones appear to work inside of Microsoft which is suggestive of some real possibilities.

My phone is integrated into my computer and login. If I am logged into the Microsoft corporate system, anyone calling me from inside Microsoft or to my Microsoft phone number can find me and talk to me. I receive voicemail and SMS notifications anywhere. My colleagues with Windows phones have all that integrated there too. It just works. Google Voice achieves that to some degree but there is always some residual uncertainty there and I can be in more places than I have set-up in Google Voice.

But there is more. It is all integrated with my Outlook calendar. So if I am in a meeting, the phone won’t ring but messages can pop up. I can tailor that to let important calls through. Again, I just don’t have to worry. So imagine if by simply integrating you Microsoft programs (or Azure cloud login) with Skype you could achieve the same thing. That sounds like something worth $50 per user.

3 Responses to "A Window into Skype"
  1. And your point is?  Telecommunication systems integrated with messaging and calendaring systems have been around for 15 years.  My non-microsoft voicemail system forwards voicemail to my non-microsoft e-mail system and to my non-microsoft cell phone.  When I’m not in the office – calls are forwarded from our non-microsoft telecommunication systems to whatever non-microsoft phone I’m using (today its an iPhone – yesterday it was my blackberry).  That is hardly radical technology.
    This is hardly new.  And if skype integration with Azure (or whatever name Microsoft is calling it this week) is such a great thing – why hasn’t any other service that uses it taken off?  Microsofts lunch is being eaten here and buying Skype is not going to stop that.

  2. I agree with Tim.
    This is sooooooo old. Not %100 sure about Avaya, but Cisco for example have had this technology in the market for 10 years. Microsoft are playing catch up because they are being eaten alive in the collaboration market. They are not seen as a PBX vendor and are very late to the game.
    What is interesting (or poor depending on your view) about microsofts approach to growth is that they do not commercialise a lot of unique invovation these days. They either acquire (like in the case of skype) or they clone (zune/xbox) because they want their piece of the market share pie
    Today, its pretty evident they rely heavily on the existing upgrade churn of the office/windows revenues to stay profitible. Their ability to deliver new revenue streams through innovation seems non-existent? (happy to be wrong) unlike the “old days” when they brought windows from the dos days, that was market shifting stuff.
    I’m interested to see what they do with skype. Do they wrap it up into OCS/lync? and kill the voice “race towards $0” that skype had a hand in creating or do they work out how to monetise the existing user base that ebay couldnt?
    When it comes down to it… even skype’s techonology is old hat… there is even an open source codec (iLBC)  that commoditises skypes competitive technology edge (good voice quality over a crappy internet connection).

  3. Yeah, I’m with poster #1: I don’t see Microsoft bringing anything original to the table. You’re probably talking about “solutions” for corporations, which I know nothing about.

    As an individual, I’d rather run all my chats/voice messages/calendar/reminder communications through the same free system for at least a decade, for simplicity and for backup purposes. I’m talking about using email of course, augmented with rememberthemilk.com and Google voice (though other plug-in services would also do the job).

    I don’t know why corporations don’t move towards reliable and free (or almost free) systems, instead of paying dearly for custom, integrated “solutions,” such as you have at Microsoft. Maybe they will.

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