Editorial–Microsoft buys Skype

I hate to be on the “bandwagon” for the Microsoft/Skype acquisition, but it’s just too big not to comment.

According to the bits and pieces I’m seeing, all development work at Skype is being brought to a halt for the next 9 months, including SkypeKit and new SILK licenses, while all the legal/regulatory issues are dealt with.

I’ve always had mixed feelings about Skype.  It’s been a widely adapted technology, but hidden in proprietary-ness.  It has boasted of having hundreds of millions of registered users – like saying how many phone numbers you have these days –- but the actual number of paying subscribers has been in the millions. A lot of very nice guys, but some very diffused business directions, with power centers in Estonia, London, and Silicon Valley before CEO Tony Bates streamlined things.

Don’t get me started on eBay and Skype. A lot of people want to believe eBay screwed up big time, but I’m not so sure that they got sold a bill of goods. We’ll see how things work out once Microsoft puts Skype through the due diligence wringer – and at $8.5 billion on the line, Microsoft will probably send the A-Team backed by the B-2s.

On Twitter, I joked that Microsoft and Skype understood the “value” of proprietary protocols and closed systems. I’ve also noted that if you crunch the numbers, Microsoft is paying roughly $1000 per customers for a typical customer that spends around $120 per year.

OK, Skype also developing other revenue sources, but if you crunch the numbers another way, Microsoft is paying at least 10 (TEN) times reported 2010 Skype revenues.

I don’t care how you slice it, that’s a lot of money.  Microsoft still has money to burn, but if you read between the lines at some of the comments being posted by pundits, there’s a big background spin job going to position this in the best light.

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