As of October 13th, Microsoft officially owns Skype, after spending $8.5 billion.
In the press release, they of course state their commitment to maintaining Skype as a useful communications platform. Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer says,
“We look forward to working with the Skype team to create new ways for people to stay connected to family, friends, clients and colleagues — anytime, anywhere.”
For end users, not much should change right now. Perhaps the branding will look, and we can expect integration with other Microsoft services. It will likely become an integral part of the Windows Live experience. Moving forward, we may see integration with a future version of Xbox Live. Skype will certainly be a part of Windows 8. According to the TechNet Blog:
“Microsoft is committed to the ubiquity of the Skype experience – communication across every device and every platform will remain a primary focus.”
Implemented properly, having voice and video integrated into every part of the Windows experience will be quite convenient. However, Microsoft hasn’t always been known for elegant implementations of software.
Skype employees and offices around the world will remain status quo for the time being. Skype currently has offices in the US, Estonia, the Czech Republic, Russia, Sweden, the United Kingdom, Luxembourg, Japan, Singapore, and Hong Kong.
Tony Bates, Skype’s President (now presumably head of the Skype division within Microsoft), weighed in on the Microsoft TechNet Blog.