[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.