Microsoft chief executive Steve Ballmer and Skype boss Tony Bates gave a press conference at 8am local time in San Francisco to discuss their $8.5bn deal, announced today.
After live-blogging the event, here are my initial conclusions:
For Microsoft Skype could form the glue between its PC, mobile and gaming businesses that it has hitherto lacked.
Microsoft was in advanced discussions on Monday night about purchasing Skype, the internet telephone company, in what would be one of the US software company’s largest deals so far as it seeks to boost its online operations.
One hazard of new mass-market consumer technologies is that they make geeks of us all. So it is with Skype, which has just come up with an exhaustive account of its spectacular pre-Christmas crash. But the implications go much further than the technical. With an IPO on the cards, this has not come at a good time.
Skype’s filing for an initial public offering on Monday comes as the communications service is reaching a new level of maturity.
Skype is available on a growing number of devices as rivals such as Apple’s FaceTime struggle to establish meaningful connections with customers and other services.
Mobile and fixed-line operators have shown little interest in improving the voice quality of phone calls, but the internet phone company Skype came out with a compelling reason for them to do so on Monday.
Speaking at the eComm conference in Silicon Valley, Jonathan Rosenberg, Skype‘s chief technology officer, said its users were talking for almost 50 per cent longer on calls delivered in high-definition quality.
Skype has announced some major advances for the consumer in video calling – with high-definition pictures enabled and integration with TV sets.
At the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, it isunveiling partnerships with LG and Panasonic to offer Skype–enabled HDTVs from the middle of this year. Their 720P HD webcams with built-in microphones are specially designed to pick up video and sound from couch distances.
You just know that this is not the end.
It’s like one of those bad soap operas. There’s a big family wedding coming up and the distant European cousins aren’t invited. It leads to some vicious public name-calling. Eventually everyone calms down and the cousins are invited after all, though some other guests have be thrown off the list to make room for them.
But as soon as they all get in the same room again, it won’t take long for the bad feelings to return. You just know.