Now you can hope to use your Windows or Office software on the Net and with it expect international calls free or cheap.
At $8.5 billion, the price Microsoft is paying for Skype is nearly three times the sum of $3.1 billion that eBay paid in 2005 for the company that helps Internet-based phone calls on convenient handsets, bypassing old-world telecom networks through partnership arrangements.
The reasons for Microsoft buying the company are, therefore, strategic.
For decades Microsoft sold its famous Office software in CDs that rested on desktop. Now, that is being offered on rent over the Net, in what is called the “cloud.”
Skype can enable video conferencing and global calls by effective integration with Microsoft’s Windows Live initiative under which it is offering online storage and software applications on rent over the Net.
It will become tempting for small businesses worldwide when cheap international calls are bundled with software rentals.
“It’s not a move of vision but more one of survival,” said Mahesh Murthy, CEO of Pinstorm, an Internet service company and a venture capitalist.
“Microsoft used to rule with Hotmail but lost the crown to Yahoo and Gmail. It’s losing the browser battle to Chrome and Firefox. It’s losing the Windows Phone battle to Apple and Google,” he added.
Instead of fighting rival software companies, Microsoft may be pinching revenues from telecom operators in the days ahead.