Wednesday, May 11, 2011

What is the future of Skype?

      Now that Microsoft has acquired Skype, what does the future hold? Some question why Microsoft would spend $8 billion on Skype given that it has been losing money and that most of its users are not paying for the application? Will it mean that users will now have to pay more to use the video conferencing service? 

     Microsoft is used to being the technology giant but is being heavily challenged in the mobile field with companies like Google and Apple. It looks like they are preparing themselves for a comeback and Skype will play an important role. 

     Users can already use Skype on their Xbox and I think that we will start finding Skype being integrated further into the gaming device, allowing you to use it to contact anyone and will include the ability to create Skype channels as the line between Internet and television continues to blur. 

     It would also make sense that Microsoft would integrate it into all Microsoft products more through Windows 7 for the PC and Windows 7 Phones. Given that Skype has not been profitable, Microsoft will need to find new ways to generate money from their expensive new acquisition without scaring away customers by charging them more. They would want to leverage the current customer base and likely integrate advertising more into the product rather than trying to making it more expensive to use. 

      It will be interesting to see how Microsoft's new touch technologies and Kinect will play a role in the development of Skype over the next few years. Could it lead to teleconferencing sessions where users can video chat while also manipulating objects on the screen through Kinect's gesture technology? 

     Microsoft has invested a lot in education over the years and it is likely that the new technologies which get combined with Skype will create exciting new learning opportunities for students.