Earlier this week, a job listing was spotted on Microsoft's website calling for a software development engineer to join the Skype division. The listing said the potential employee would help bring Skype to web browsers, meaning Skype users may soon see a Microsoft-based Google Voice/Chat competitor in Firefox, Internet Explorer and other browsers in the near future, stamped with the Skype seal of approval.
Now Microsoft's broad view of Skype is officially getting even bigger. While we already knew Skype would eventually land on Microsoft's living room cash cow, the Xbox 360, two recent job listings makes the assumptions 100-percent concrete: one for Software Development Engineer, Xbox - Skype, and one for Engineering Manager, Xbox - Skype.
"We’re building the next generations of our products and technology right here in London and Skype is looking to hire a Development Manager to lead the development of our experiences on Xbox," the Engineering Manager listing reports. "As an experienced Engineering Manager, you will have a strong technical background developing client software and will bring a deep understanding of architecture and resource efficient engineering to the team."
Now here's the big question: what of Windows Live Messenger? Does Microsoft plan to eventually merge the two clients, keep them separate, or nuke the long-standing chat tool formerly known as MSN Messenger? Currently PC, Xbox, and mobile users can chat away with each other via the older client, but it wouldn't make much sense to have two, now would it? Even more, Skype on the Xbox 360 means consumers -- whether they're using the box as a gaming machine or as a multimedia station -- can make calls to friends and family without having to leave the couch.
Microsoft acquired Skype back in May 2011 for $8.5 billion in cash from the investor group led by Silver Lake. Since then, little else has been said about what the Redmond company planned to do with the newly-acquired VoIP service. There was fear that the popular service would become "Microsoft-ized," but CEO Steve Ballmer assured critics that there wouldn't be a drastic change to the current format, that it will be multi-platform as well as compatible with its own services like Hotmail, Xbox Live and so on.
As for the Software Development Engineer job, applicants will need a B.Sc. in Computer Science or related field, a solid background and a broad range of experience in Windows development. Experience with C++/ C# and .Net are essential as well as experience in building and shipping software within an Agile software development environment. Exposure to XDK, XNA and the Xbox platform or any experience in game development would also be nice to have, the company states.
Raise your hand if you think Microsoft will sport a little Skype on the Xbox 360 this June during E3 2012. Think that will be too early?