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Skype Founder: Microsoft Has Huge Opportunity

Skype founder Niklas Zennstrom admitted that Skype's full potential hasn't been realized yet – there is a lot more work to do on the core technology to improve quality of video calls as it is. But he's also confident that the overall Skype experience will improve as the capabilities of networks and smartphones also improves.

During an interview at the e-G8 forum in Paris, Zennstrom indicated that Microsoft needed to capitalize on its (insane) $8.5 billion acquisition of Skype by expanding into mobile and improving video call quality. "I think that Microsoft has a huge opportunity to integrate it into a lot of their different services," he said.

Reuters reports that Zennstrom declined to comment on how Microsoft could incorporate Skype into its business, leaving it up to the Redmond company to disclose the details. "Of course they have so many different assets," he said. "If they do a good job integrating Skype, the company can grow even more."

If that comment sounds disconnected, there's good reason: Zennstrom is no longer part of the management and plans on selling off his shares in Skype when the deal with Microsoft closes. Currently Skype shares are down more than six-percent since the deal with Microsoft was originally announced on May 10.

Zennstrom founded Skype along with partner Janus Friis back in 2003. Since its launch, the VoIP service has grown to 145 million users a month. E-commerce giant eBay purchased the service (along with Zennstrom's shares) for $2.6 billion in October 2005, but then turned around and sold off 65-percent of its Skype holdings in 2009 to an investor group – including Zennstrom – for around $2.025 billion. When completed, Skype will be Microsoft's largest acquisition to date and headed by Skype's former CEO Tony Bates.

Zennstrom believes that Skype is now in its second stage of evolution, moving from being a mere PC-to-PC VoIP service to focusing on connecting friends and family through video, mobile devices and desktops. "That is a huge opportunity that still has room to grow," he said. "We still all travel a lot for meetings because you can't match the intimate experience of seeing someone in person, even with Skype video calling."

Microsoft head honcho Steve Ballmer announced the acquisition two weeks ago, saying that "Skype is a phenomenal service that is loved by millions of people around the world," According to a press release, Skype will support Microsoft devices like Xbox and Kinect, Windows Phone and a "wide array of Windows devices," and Microsoft will connect Skype users with Lync, Outlook, Xbox Live and other communities. Microsoft will continue to invest in and support Skype clients on non-Microsoft platforms.

  • eddieroolz
    He's right. Skype has a lot of room to grow - and potentially displace other competitors like FaceTime. Its quality is quite good by itself already, but it *can* be improved.

    Now of course, we have to hope that North American telecoms don't ruin the whole plan. I'm looking at you, Canadian telecoms.
    Reply
  • jhansonxi
    "Microsoft will continue to invest in and support Skype clients on non-Microsoft platforms."

    Cutting off third-party integration isn't an improvement.
    Reply
  • virtualban
    ff32rasdfwerfTOM! WHEN WILL YOU FILTER THESE FUCKIN SPAMMERS?!!?!?!TOM! WHEN WILL YOU FILTER THESE FUCKIN SPAMMERS?!!?!?!.....TOM! WHEN WILL YOU FILTER THESE FUCKIN SPAMMERS?!!?!?! JUST SAYING......They should inspire people report spam, not thumbs down which is up to the opinion, just if spam or not, and auto hide with that. Inspire by a point reward, as expressed in this Tom's feedback:
    http://feedbacks.tomshardware.com/forums/14581-site-forum-ideas/suggestions/1687631-readers-helping-fighting-spam
    Vote for it, maybe they will implement it sooner rather than later.
    Reply
  • JOSHSKORN
    ff32rasdfwerfTOM! WHEN WILL YOU FILTER THESE FUCKIN SPAMMERS?!!?!?! JUST SAYING......Agreed...AND fix the thumbs up system.
    Reply
  • house70
    virtualbanThey should inspire people report spam, not thumbs down which is up to the opinion, just if spam or not, and auto hide with that. Inspire by a point reward, as expressed in this Tom's feedback:http://feedbacks.tomshardware.com/ hting-spamVote for it, maybe they will implement it sooner rather than later.I've been reporting spammers for a long time... The net result can be seen as we "speak" (which is nothing).
    They need to remove that "report" button, as it does no good.
    Reply
  • house70
    JOSHSKORNAgreed...AND fix the thumbs up system.It's been fixed since yesterday... I know, I wasn't expecting it either.
    Reply
  • virtualban
    house70I've been reporting spammers for a long time... The net result can be seen as we "speak" (which is nothing).They need to remove that "report" button, as it does no good.If they gave the report button some power, similar to the thumbs down, it might get some good. And since it's not a mater of "this is a troll / this is a good post", it's just "spam/not spam" issue, it could work fast with the proper people reporting. Those with the "Chief of the Watch" badge for example *parades around showing off the new badge*. And people could be able to get this "trusted spam reporter" form easier, maybe just reporting correctly 10 spams, while the "Chief of the Watch" would be one hit kill in power and still get reward points for helping. Kill I don't mean delete post, just as simple as hide it till paid moderators wake up. Let's see the spammers making it through all readers like that. They would be affecting what, the first 4 readers, hehe. If the post is hidden because of being marked as spam, people would not even be tempted to open it and reply to flame wars.
    Reply
  • Reynod
    Banned the guy and the other two sitting behind his IP who were also users here.

    Post as a guest and If I tie your IP to the guest you had better have a good reason for trolling me.

    That was my 1001'st spammer nuked ... in 6 mths of active duty.

    Thats like 8 tours of Nam ... I have shrapnel wounds ...

    Be warned.
    Reply
  • jhansonxi
    reynodBanned the guy and the other two sitting behind his IP who were also users here.
    Need an auto-ban script that blocks anyone posting a link to "bingstore.us".
    Reply
  • fir_ser
    Of course Skype is a huge opportunity, but hope Microsoft doesn’t screw Skype.
    Reply