Monday, May 16th, 2011
When Microsoft bought Skype for $8.5Billion one thing that intrigued me was the enterprise play that Ballmer had in mind. Sure video ads is one way to add revenue but my fascination was the enterprise collaboration portion of where Microsoft could take Skype. A main competitor such as Cisco that has the proper infrastructure and security would be the standard in which the new division of Microsoft would want to achieve. In the past, Skype was criticized for its lack of security and infrastructure, but Skype’s cross platform capabilities makes this very appealing.
If Microsoft were to combine their SharePoint, and Dynamics CRM with Skype and Instant Messenger (IM) the makings for a collaborative CRM system is starting to develop. The excitement of collaboration extending its CRM functionality takes Dynamics CRM to another level in enterprise Social CRM software. Microsoft can provide the required investment to bring up security and even leverage the VOIP service possibly using Azure the MS cloud platform. If Azure is used for development of Skype it may be able to provide the infrastructure and security needed to compete with Cisco and other telepresence vendors. Skype’s user base uses 40% video chat. This collaboration aspect could be very valuable if added to the latest Windows OS as in maybe the Windows Ultimate feature. Another possibility is to include the collaboration aspect of VOIP as a part of the Business Productivity Online Standard Suite (BPOS). This service added to Windows Live Messaging would be a very compelling collaboration software for the SMB market offered as a monthly service.
The BPOS suite includes Microsoft Exchange Online for email and calendaring; Microsoft SharePoint Online for portals and document sharing; Microsoft Office Communications Online for presence availability, instant messaging, and peer to peer audio calls; and Office Live Meeting for web and video conferencing. If Skype is integrated to Office Live Meeting the combination can prove very effective as the best of both enterprise applications can be leveraged. These are just ideas on the corporate side then there’s the mobile play.
Skype Mobile with video may provide a natural extension of with Nokia + Windows 7 mobile + Skype with video capabilities which makes the combined arsenal of all three components of OS, hardware and application a nice combination to penetrate the mobile market. This combination of hardware and software provides the perfect platform for video collaboration using the smartphone, especially with Skype’s mobile video service.
These are just a few of the options that Microsoft will have if they incorporate and integrate Skype into its current plans. I wish them luck as there are many possibilities where Microsoft can capitalize on this acquisition.
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