Before we get started, let me make a statement for the record: I have no strong opinion regarding the merits of Microsoft's purchase of Skype except as it makes for a good poll question.
Now, with that out of the way, consider the scope of the punditry this past week or so.
- On sister-site ZDNet, Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols seems to be taking the transaction very personally. He is very adamant that the deal is a bad idea. (Microsoft's Ballmer $7.7-Billion Skype Blunder)
- Many Wall Street analysts, like Martin Peers of the Wall Street Journal, seem much more concerned about the price Microsoft paid for Skype then about whether the deal will help Microsoft grow into new markets. (Microsoft's Pricey Call on Skype)
- Larry Dignan, also over on ZDNet, however, sees a potentially effective strategy in the works when it comes to the international market. I think many people forget that companies as big as Microsoft live in a global marketplace. (How Microsoft, Skype, Nokia can rule: Cut out obscene data roaming rates abroad)
- Jason Hiner, in his Tech Sanity Check blog, takes a more balanced approach to the transaction by suggesting some of the ways Microsoft can use Skype. (Microsoft buys Skype for $8.5 billion, so now what?)
- Om Malik, over on GigaOm, mentions the potential benefit the deal could have for Facebook because Microsoft also owns a large stake in that company. (Why Microsoft Is Buying Skype for $8.5 Billion)
While I don't have a strong opinion about the merits or cost of the Microsoft acquisition, I do believe there is some strategic wisdom in the transaction. Microsoft is placing its bets on cloud computing and they need to have a presence in every aspect of that market, including VoIP. I don't know if this Skype deal will have any significant impact in that regard, but I am willing to give Microsoft the benefit of the doubt and patiently wait to see what happens.
But what do you think? Is the deal a bad idea? What do you see as the end result of the acquisition?
Mark W. Kaelin has been writing and editing stories about the IT industry, gadgets, finance, accounting, and tech-life for more than 25 years. Most recently, he has been a regular contributor to BreakingModern.com, aNewDomain.net, and TechRepublic.