Last week brought reports that both Google and Facebook are mulling over deals to either purchase Luxembourg-based Skype outright, or to drum up some kind of joint venture. Now there are reports that official news may arrive by the end of the week once corporate attorneys and other senior managers hammer out the details. Even more, Microsoft is reportedly wanting to strike a deal with Skype too.
As indicated last week, an alliance between Google and Skype is less likely to happen given the current evolution of Google Talk and the Android OS. The search engine giant revealed last week that video chat will become a native part of Android as of v2.3.4. The new feature will first appear in an over-the-air update rolled out to Nexus S devices over the next few weeks, and then will be added to other Android 2.3+ devices in the future.
Microsoft, on the other hand, could use an injection of Skype to better position itself against Google and Cisco, two major rivals in the enterprise collaboration business. A possible acquisition or collaboration would also give Microsoft a must-have application or service that would help in the adoption of future Windows Phone OS versions. In fact, the technology could make it possible for Xbox 360 users to place VoIP calls from within the console's interface.
As it stands now, Microsoft already has a voice and video chat service in Windows Live Messenger for the general consumer. It even offers voice chat and video conferencing for businesses through Lync and Lync Online. There's even speculation that Microsoft's interests in Skype may simply lie in a possible inoperability between Skype's service and Lync/Lync Online so that users of one can look up users of the other. Still, Microsoft may be merely out to gain a piece of technology or intellectual property (IP) to gain a boost in revenue.
But what if Microsoft plans to revamp Windows Live Messenger with Skype's technology? This would create a client with instant messaging, VoIP calling and video conferencing for all three Microsoft platforms: Windows 7/8, Windows Phone 7/8 and Xbox 360. That's mere speculation of course, but a possible scenario that could be revealed by the end of the week.
For now, all parties involved are keeping a tight lip. "As a matter of practice, Skype does not comment on rumor or speculation," a Skype representative said on Monday.