Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer and Skype CEO Tony Bates took the stage this morning to go over some of the specifics behind Microsoft's $8.5 billion acquisition of the worldwide communications platform.
Reading between the lines of the talk there are a couple of things that become apparent for what Microsoft has planned for Skype. Foremost, Ballmer said Skype will continue to be a cross-platform service.
"I said it and I mean it. Microsoft will continue to support non-Microsoft platforms because it is fundamental to the value proposition of communications," Ballmer said. "We are one of the few companies that has a track record of doing this. Take a look at the work we have done over the years with Office, for example, for the Mac ... we have a track record of understanding our customers and the need to support our customers as they want to travel."
It looks as though Microsoft will also be implementing Skype heavily into its enterprise unified communications platform Lync.
"We have had an incredible uptake in our Lync unified communications client and we are committed to want to build on that success," Ballmer said. "The product is off to a fantastic start and we have plans to enhance it in addition to connecting it through the rest of the Skype customer base which, in and of itself, I think is a great value."
Microsoft and Skype anticipate that the acquisition will get regulatory approval within the year.
Ballmer spoke a lot of about how Skype will integrate in to Window Phone and the various other platforms that Microsoft owns. From Kinect and Xbox down through the Microsoft product chain like Hotmail. At the same time, Microsoft has often been a company that wants to be your everything, everywhere. There was a sense from Ballmer and Bates that they would want to roll out Skype integration to every possible service they can get it on. Skype as a platform by itself could not do that. It has a massive user base but probably not the cash resources for the breadth and scope that Microsoft envisions for it.