Microsoft and Skype may have gotten the thumbs up from American and European bodies, but concerns Microsoft could damage Skype still loom, turning the impartial company into bias Windows advocate.
Microsoft’s acquisition of Skype could be finalised by the end of this week as the deal has already been met with approval from American and European bodies. Tech site electronista believes mere formalities are holding it up.
Although the deal isn’t seen as anti-competitive, there are concerns that Microsoft won’t operate in Skype’s best interest, gearing Skype products towards its own products. Once acquired, Microsoft intends on integrating Skype into its Outlook mail and Hotmail, Office, Messenger and Xbox live console. The company also aims to embed it into its Windows Phone platform, hoping to rival Android’s Google Talk and Apple’s FaceTime.
“This is another major step for Microsoft’s aggressive pursuit of Google and Apple, which also may have a secondary effect: further pain for the telcos and especially mobile IMS and its flag-waving applications VoLTE and RCS [Rich Communication Suite],” said Dean Bubley of Disruptive Analysis.
Microsoft CEO Steven Ballmer insists cross platform support will continue, with Skype CEO Tony Bates claiming at the Fortune Brainstorm Tech conference that Skype would remain a stand-alone entity and the highly visible Skype brand will remain untouched.
Unfortunately Microsoft has a history of neglecting other platforms, gaining a competitive edge by focussing on its own. The company has endured complaints development at the Mac Business Unit has fallen behind Windows versions, often with little apparent reason.
There are also concerns that Microsoft could mismanage the acquisition, with its recent acquisition of Danger looming in mind. After paying $500 million for the company in 2008, corporate infighting and neglect from staff led the kin-phone project’s swift failure.
Currently Skype is available on all major platforms, such as Windows, Mac, Android, iOS and Microsoft’s own Windows Phone to name a few. It’s popularity is owed to its ubiquity, being available and accessible to everyone, everywhere, banking on the breaking down of traditional communication barriers.
It would be a shame for Skype, a pioneer in its industry, to be crippled by Microsoft simply because they’re banking on its reputation to sell products.