The Microsoft Empire Strikes Back

By Don Reisinger  |  Posted 2011-05-10 Print this article Print


5. It should help Windows Phone 7

Windows Phone 7 has been having some difficulty getting off the ground. Google's Android platform and iOS are more appealing to users right now. But with Skype's help, Microsoft might be able to entice more customers to its side. After all, the platform would conceivably allow for video chatting or VOIP calling to any other mobile device, including Android handsets and iPhones, free of charge. Those kinds of options appeal to consumers.

6. Millions are using Skype around the world

There is constant speculation about Microsoft's future. For now, the company seems heavily insulated, thanks to Windows and that platform's popularity. But looking ahead, some wonder if Microsoft will lose its grip on consumers as Google and Apple continue to chip away at its defenses. With Skype's help, Microsoft might be able to limit the impact of this fierce competition. After all, with millions of folks around the globe using the VOIP service, Microsoft has the unique opportunity to once again capitalize on a highly popular software platform. It might not be Windows, but Skype's popularity could only further enhance Microsoft's importance to the average consumer.

7. Is it the Mac OS X Trojan horse?

Microsoft has been seeking ways to appeal to Mac OS X users for quite some time. The company tried Internet Explorer years ago, but that failed. Its Office for Mac platform is nice, but it could be better. With Skype's help, Microsoft might finally have the Trojan horse it needs to get Mac owners to think about Microsoft and Windows again. With the right strategy and the proper mix of improvements to the Windows application, Microsoft might just be able to at least get Mac users thinking about switching back to Windows and Microsoft applications.

8. It hurts Google

Prior to Microsoft's announcement of its Skype acquisition, reports were swirling saying that Google was also looking to buy Skype. By beating the search giant out, Microsoft has won a much-needed battle in its fight against Google. For years now, Google has been taking aim at Microsoft from all sides. All too often Google has made Microsoft look like a plodding, stodgy giant when it came to search, cloud applications and even industry acquisitions. This time around, Microsoft got the prize and Google is left wondering what it should do next.

9. The enterprise factor

Microsoft's Skype play doesn't only relate to Microsoft's intentions in the consumer market. The company is also keenly aware that an increasing number of companies are relying upon video conferencing. With Skype's help, Microsoft can appeal to those firms that want to be in constant contact with their employees. Video conferencing is very much the future in the enterprise. And it seems that Microsoft realizes that.

10. Microsoft's chance to own the living room

The living room is one of the more hotly contested markets in today's consumer industry. Nearly every major firm, including Apple, Microsoft and Sony, is trying to dominate that space. However, the company that does so will need to have a video-chatting function. In the living room, video chatting is becoming more popular. This year alone, according to research firm Synergy Research Group, video conferencing and telepresence could be a $2.5 billion business. A growing part of that is coming from the consumer at home. With Skype's help, Microsoft could carve out a significant portion of the living room video conferencing market not only through its own devices, but others, as well. Looking ahead, Skype might just be big business for the software giant.


Don Reisinger is a freelance technology columnist. He started writing about technology for Ziff-Davis' Since then, he has written extremely popular columns for, Computerworld, InformationWeek, and others. He has appeared numerous times on national television to share his expertise with viewers. You can follow his every move at

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