Print 75 comment(s) - last by Gzus666.. on May 11 at 5:35 PM

Microsoft digs into its deep pockets to snatch up Skype

The Wall Street Journal reported earlier tonight that Microsoft was in talks to purchase VoIP company Skype for between $7 billion and $8 billion. Kara Swisher just recently confirmed the acquisition in her BoomTown column, starting that the deal is worth an estimated $8.5 billion. 

Earlier reports stated that Google and Facebook were duking it out to get a piece of Skype, but in the end Steve Ballmer and Microsoft's huge chest of cash put an end to those discussions. The earlier reports also pointed to a Skype valuation of $3 to $4 billion, so Microsoft's $8.5 billion purchase price hopefully will bring a hefty ROI.

For those keeping score, eBay bought Skype in 2005 for $2.5 billion. Four years later, eBay sold a 65% stake in the company for $1.9 billion.

The first beta of Skype was introduced in 2003, and as of December 2010, it had over 663 million registered users. The average number of monthly connected users is much lower, however, at 145 million. And when it comes to users that actually pay for the service, the numbers drop down to just 8.8 million. 

Registered users can make Skype-to-Skype calls and one-to-one video calls for free. Users can make Skype-to-phone calls at a rate of 2.3 cents/minute. Skype also offers subscription plans at a rate of 1.2 cents/minute. 

We'll have to wait a few more hours until we get all the juicy details on Microsoft's latest acquisition, but we're betting that the boys from Redmond plan on tightly integrating Skype with Windows Phone 7 to better compete with Google Voice.

Updated 5/11/2011 @ 8:34am

Well, the news is now official. Microsoft just announced that it is acquiring Skype for $8.5 billion in cash. Microsoft says that Skype will bolster its "existing portfolio of real-time communications products and services."

As expected, Skype will be tightly integrated into the Xbox 360 and Windows Phone 7 platform. Microsoft is also creating a new business division called the Microsoft Skype Division, which will be headed by Skype CEO Tony Bates (he will report directly to Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer).

“Skype is a phenomenal service that is loved by millions of people around the world,” said Ballmer. “Together we will create the future of real-time communications so people can easily stay connected to family, friends, clients and colleagues anywhere in the world.”

“Microsoft and Skype share the vision of bringing software innovation and products to our customers,” said Bates. “Together, we will be able to accelerate Skype's plans to extend our global community and introduce new ways for everyone to communicate and collaborate.”

You can read the full press release here.

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RE: What the hell.
By Smilin on 5/10/2011 7:37:09 PM , Rating: 2
If you're a core engineer you're probably leaning more towards the Juniper side right?

Only thing I've seen with routers causing VoIP issues is with Cisco. They have a "sip fixup" feature on their VPN concentrators and some other routers/switches that just utterly mauls SIP traffic. Cisco has like 4 different implementations of that protocol depending on which product you use. All of them show age the moment any 3rd party interoperability is attempted.

Few products use SIP over TCP now so the problem is fading on it's own. You can't maul stuff encapsulated in TLS.

Agreed on ICMP.. you gotta kick up the packet size to find BH routers and latency/loss. Fun trivia: checkout what PING uses for a payload in larger packets. :)

When it comes to VoIP though the absolute #1 factor in call quality is the sound device used. You can run SONET over fiber to your house and still not compensate for a crappy microphone.

RE: What the hell.
By Gzus666 on 5/10/2011 8:54:53 PM , Rating: 2
Pure Cisco, transport and all. I haven't really touched the Juniper stuff, but I know it is pretty nice. Cisco still has a hefty margin in the carrier space, you'd be surprised who runs Cisco all over. Only carrier I know of off hand that runs Juniper is Level 3.

The fixup was an issue on the old code, that has been gone for a long time. Fixup was the PIX version of the current inspection that is used in the new code. The new products work fantastically actually, the SIP inspection is very robust on IOS and ASA code. The whole firewall inspection change is quite robust, being able to just inspect ISAKMP and it will pass all related traffic for IPSEC, really nice stuff.

If you see the 8.4 ASA code and the new 15.1 IOS code, they are very similar now. Cisco really made some great changes with the ASA product line. I have had very few issues with anything Cisco on recent releases. The packet tracer feature they added to ASA code is awesome.

I dislike voice for the most part, so I stay away from it. I enjoy QoS setup and queuing, but bits are bits as far as I am concerned, I just move them around.

RE: What the hell.
By Smilin on 5/11/2011 3:01:47 PM , Rating: 2
Might be the wrong guy to ask since you stay away from voice but do you know if SIP fixup supports extensions now?

Kindof a moot point with Lync at least. It no longer supports unencrypted TCP for clients.

RE: What the hell.
By Gzus666 on 5/11/2011 5:35:16 PM , Rating: 2
Not a clue, you are better off using the policy map with inspection now. I believe they introduced that in the 7.x train. Funny, cause I'm setting up an ASA right now, ha.

"Can anyone tell me what MobileMe is supposed to do?... So why the f*** doesn't it do that?" -- Steve Jobs

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