Skype goes down the drain… the end for free-VOIP? Opportunities for Open-source?

Yesterday we had a not so shocking news about skype. It was bought by Microsoft. What does this mean to Skype? Well, from all the possible companies that could try to snatch Skype who could be worse?

I believe that Facebook comes to the idea. The biggest problem for Skype is that Microsoft (or Facebook) is not going to keep Skype running as it is (as its business model is flawed), and will try to strip it of the free parts and integrate it in their own products. My strongest bet is that Skype will be part of the Office suite to boost the collaborative part of office.

If Microsoft is to keep Skype available externally it will probably modify it to integrate its users into Office latter. The big problem here is that many Skype users aren’t office users and so the question is what Microsoft is going to do with those users? Microsoft can’t just make Skype another MSN bloated app. It was to expensive for that… Well, MS knows better than me how to spend money and destroy products (remember Hotmail?).

On the other hand, if Microsoft closes Skype completely inside Office, what will happen to VOIP? There are several free and open-source alternatives to Skype, but they don’t have the critical mass that Skype has, so Microsoft will need to manage this transition carefully as it might give opportunities to other companies to bump their opensource-VOIP solutions (taking notes, Canonical?).

Finally, at that price what has Microsoft really bought? Does Microsoft know that the important part of Skype IP is not owned by Skype?