Well it happened. Microsoft bought Skype. Microsoft, the world’s leading OS manufacturer(Despite what it looks like in your typical Brooklyn coffee shop) has agreed to acquire the popular video call service Skype. So how much money did the progenitors of Windows 95 throw down to get to one day fire Marty McFly via video conference? Oh not that much, really ju-ACTUALLY 8.5 BILLION DOLLARS.
That may sound like a lot but let’s consider the, oh wait, there is nothing to consider, it’s 8.5 BILLION DOLLARS. That’s 4.25 billion slices of NYC pizza. That’s more than the GNP of Senegal, Nepal and Paraguay. That’s about twice the worth of Donald Trump if you ask Donald Trump and about twenty times his worth if you ask anyone else. In short, it’s a boatload of money.
So why did Microsoft do it? Well, for one Skype is an innovative service that has been attracting users exponentially. The company rules the roost when it comes to online video calling and has made significant inroads to capturing the mobile market. The company has 600 million unique users, after all. Microsoft is also betting heavy on integration. Skype is going to be rolled into every inch of Microsoft’s online real estate. Look for Skype to show up in Xbox Live, the Windows Phone platform and software such as Lync and Outlook. The hope here is twofold: To bring Skype to new markets and to increase their user-base and to drag that user-base to everything else Microsoft has to offer.
Not a bad idea, but is 8.5 billion too much money to spend on a company that has, despite its popularity, found it hard to make money? That’s the eternal question whenever one net giant gobbles up another. It took four years for Google to turn a profit on Youtube, with an initial 1.65 billion investment. Skype could take even longer, given the initial investment was, here I go again, 8.5 BILLION DOLLARS.
We’ll have more on this as it develops. And let me speak for every kid of the 80s and 90s when I wonder why this amount of money can’t be spent to further the hoverboard industry. Hoverboards rule!