This past weekend I had wandered into the Nordstrom on Michigan Avenue to escape the cold, and I walked straight into a huge display of Microsoft’s new Surface tablet. But this wasn’t what caught my attention. The woman assisting those of us testing the new tablets suddenly asked, “Do you use Skype?”
This question struck me as odd, considering that I was there to look at a tablet, not to talk about a video calling service. But as she handed out free Skype calls for one month to myself and the two others who raised their hands, she told me that the company was now owned by Microsoft. This merger actually occurred in May of 2011, but apparently it went unnoticed by people like me.
According to an article from Mashable, Microsoft acquired the company for $8.5 billion, quite a hefty price for the addition to the Microsoft family. Microsoft has made plans to incorporate the system into their existing devices and systems, things like Xbox and Kinect, the Windows phone, Xbox live and Outlook. (mashable.com)
Although the company is now associated with Microsoft, they don’t plan on discontinuing it’s development outside of the company. This merger to me shows just how much convergence of media has begun to happen for technology user today. We now have the ability to make video and landline calls from our gaming systems, mobile phones and computers. We now even have the ability to do so across different operating systems, from Windows to Apple iOS.
In an article on Wired.com, this decision to merge has come under the criticism of whether it was really worth the money for Microsoft. The question posed is really whether the long-term payout for Microsoft will be worth the purchase. The addition of Skype to their products will certainly be advantageous for consumers, but perhaps not so much for the companies finances. I will be interested to see if this convergence of these two companies has all the benefits Microsoft was hoping for.
Bright, P. (2011, May 10). Microsoft buys skype for $8.5 billion. why, exactly?. Retrieved from http://www.wired.com/business/2011/05/microsoft-buys-skype-2/
Indvik, L. (2011, May 10). Microsoft acquires skype for $8.5 billion. Retrieved from http://mashable.com/2011/05/10/microsoft-acquires-skype/