Microsoft, back in May, announced a definitive agreement to acquire Skype for $8.5 billion. According to Skype’s CEO Tony Bates, Microsoft’s purchase of the internet voice and video giant is set to close by October, once the deal gets clearance by European regulators, and is set to have its own division at the software giant.
“We already got through the US side of it. We still have Europe so it’s anyone’s guess, but I would say we’ve got a couple of months more here. Maybe sort of an October timeframe would be my guess,” Bates stated.
Despite reporting a loss last year, Skype is still one of the the most popular platforms for real-time video chat communication and is used across a variety of platforms. Microsoft plans on extending the Skype platform and bring support to Xbox, Kinect, and Windows Phone. Microsoft will also link Skype’s userbase with Microsoft’s current pool of users utilizing Lync, Outlook, and Xbox Live. Furthermore, Microsoft will continue to support and develop Skype on non-Microsoft platforms.
According to Bates, Skype will have its own division at Microsoft. This is a pretty interesting move from a software giant. In fact, even Bates stated that it was “unprecedented” for Skype to have its own division. “I’m a peer president to the other five presidents that run the businesses.”
Skype is not expected to have any type of re-branding once Microsoft takes over, from what Bates is saying. “One of the greatest brands in the consumer Internet space. It is a verb. People talk about it in that way. They say Skype me. So, you can expect no change. You can expect strong commitment to the brand.”
As far as the possibility of having in-call advertising during calls, Bates stated, “We obviously think that there’s a very rich long-term advertising play. The one I will just tease for everyone to think about is, we actually think there is a big play in in-call advertising. Watch this space. We think this is going to be a very exciting area for us.”
Skype could possibly play a huge role in Microsoft’s effort to turn around its fortunes in the mobile-phone market and compete with rivals Google and Apple. Skype will allow users to make cheap phone calls over the Internet via their mobile phones and could become an issue with carriers.