Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Microsoft's purchase of Skype Part Two

Now that the dust has settled on the Microsoft-Skype deal, and we've had some pundits explain how this is great for Skype, even if the price is too high, here are my predictions if Skype is still a Microsoft division in one year.

1. Skype will lose market share over the next year. Currently, it is the dominant video chat program on computers, and the competitors are far behind. In a year, it will continue to be dominant but competitors will catch up. Rationale: the merged company won't be as nimble as before, and will waste time adjusting to Microsoft technologies while Facetime and Google Talk soak the newcomers.

2. Skype's mobile support will get worse, especially in comparison with its competitors. Rationale: Merging with Microsoft means aligning with Microsoft powerhouses: Windows and Office. The Windows Mobile tie-in is the closest, and I expect a raft of features for Windows Mobile while Android and iPhone are sidelined.

3. Skype will lose large deployments to competing technologies. Rationale: A relatively small company that is beating large ISPs is an exciting David-vs-Goliath news story. The same team inside a lumbering platforms giant is scary, because now you might be expected to follow their "vision".

4. Apple will review the Skype iPhone app a lot more closely next time it is submitted. iPhone customers will be shocked. Pundits will denounce Apple. Android fans will denounce Apple. Apple fans will defend Apple's stand. Somebody might even mail Steve. Rationale: Apple didn't see Skype as a competitor yet.

5. Skype will tie in with Xbox. Rationale: It is the obvious thing: it allows for video conferencing the living-room with mobile and desktop.

It will be fun to revisit this in an year to see how well I've done.