The U.S. Department of Justice recently approved Microsoft's $8.5 billion bid for Skype, putting the software giant a big step closer to finally closing the deal for the VOIP provider. With this crucial regulatory approval, Skype is on track to become the Microsoft Skype Division and be led by its current CEO, Tony Bates.
Now the debate on whether or not the deal is good for stakeholders, including both companies, shareholders, consumers, and others, has fired back up. Some say Microsoft's bid is bad news for users around the globe and might just hurt the software giant over the long term.
Others say it was a smart move on Microsoft's part and should benefits most stakeholders. Though both sides make a compelling argument, full inspection of the deal reveals that Microsoft made a smart move by acquiring Skype. Here are the reasons why.
1. It improves Windows Phone 7
One of the first assurances Microsoft made following its announcement that it would acquire Skype was that the VOIP service would be integrated into Windows Phone 7. Microsoft's mobile platform has not caught on with consumers, and iOS and Android have been performing quite well. With deep Skype integration, current Windows Phone 7 owners will benefit and Microsoft itself might be able to attract more users to its platform.
2. It was on its way to integration anyway
Skype is undoubtedly a fine service, but when one considers its potential as an option integrated into other platforms, including mobile devices and consumer goods, it becomes all the more appealing. Simply put, Skype is better when it's an additional feature in an already appealing product. Skype knows that. Microsoft knows that. Even Skype users know that. Look for Microsoft to continue to integrate Skype across a wide array of products going forward.
3. It's all about Kinect
When Microsoft launched its motion-gaming peripheral, Kinect, last year, the device was slight on features but big on potential. With Skype's help, it might just be one of the most appealing peripherals in the living room. After all, Microsoft says that it will integrate Skype with Kinect,allowing people to engage in video chatting from the living room with other users. Kinect and Skype will be the killer combo in the living room over the next several years, and Microsoft and consumers will benefit from that.
4. It's like FaceTime, but better
Apple's FaceTime video-chatting service is arguably the best in the business right now. Users on iOS-based devices and Macs can engage in video chats at no charge. So far, Microsoft hasn't been able to respond. But with Skype's help it will, potentially making the software giant's offering much better than Apple's. With Skype, Microsoft can offer a video-chatting feature that works across platforms, including Windows PCs, Windows Phone 7 devices, Macs and Kinect, among others. Skype's video chatting doesn't have the limitations that FaceTime does, and as long as Microsoft keeps that in place, everyone will benefit.