I was a little shocked this morning to read a story from The Register that Microsoft is considering a buyout of eBay. Although the move is probably unlikely, the first question I asked myself when I read the story was “What would this mean for Skype?”
As many of you know, eBay bought Skype last fall. And as some of you also know, I’ve been testing Skype for VoIP calls and video conferencing since January and have been pretty impressed with it overall. My first thought about Skype being in Microsoft’s hands is that I’d hate to see them screw it up by messing with the team and the community that have made Skype the runaway success that it has become. On the other hand, Skype is going to reach a point where it is going to need some more technological, legal, and marketing muscle to take the final steps in moving from a disruptive technology to a mainstream force. Maybe Microsoft would be the right company to make that happen?
Skype has the potential to become the Ma Bell of the next generation (from the consumer side), but not everyone has realized that yet. There are lots of folks that would be extremely nervous if they realized that a potential monster technology of the future was about to fall into Microsoft’s lap. Of course, Microsoft might be one of the few companies that can help Skype reach its monster potential. And the deal could be done before most people realize that.