John Paczkowski

Recent Posts by John Paczkowski

Microsoft: We Promise Not To Screw Up Skype

Microsoft’s announcement Tuesday of its $8.5 billion acquisition of Skype elicited a broad spectrum of reactions–incredulity at the audacity of the deal and its price and, for some, concern that Microsoft’s bold move to claim a leadership position in Internet telephony heralds the end of Skype as we know it today. The fear is that the company will somehow screw Skype up, ending or limiting support for the service on non-Microsoft products.

But CEO Steve Ballmer says that’s not going to happen. Skype for iPhone and Android and Mac–those products aren’t going anywhere. Microsoft will continue to develop for those platforms, because it’s really in the company’s best interests to do so. “We will continue to invest in Skype on non-Microsoft client platforms,” Ballmer said during a conference call Tuesday.

Pressed on the issue later during a Q&A with reporters, Ballmer was even more adamant.

“I said it, I mean it: We will continue to support other platforms,” he replied. “We are one of the few companies that has the track record of doing this beforehand. We have done a lot of work bringing Office to the Mac and we’ve done a lot of great work with other Apple devices. Fundamental to the value proposition of communications is to reach people whether they’re on your device or not.”

Skype, then, will remain as cross-platform post-acquisition as it was prior. Welcome news for millions of Skype users concerned that Microsoft’s deal to acquire the telephony service meant its cross-platform days were over. 

Microsoft just spent $8.5 billion for Skype, its 170 million connected users, 600,000 new daily registrations and 40 percent year-over-year growth. It’s not going to purposely screw it up by suddenly limiting its appeal to Windows users.

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The problem with the Billionaire Savior phase of the newspaper collapse has always been that billionaires don’t tend to like the kind of authority-questioning journalism that upsets the status quo.

— Ryan Chittum, writing in the Columbia Journalism Review about the promise of Pierre Omidyar’s new media venture with Glenn Greenwald