Microsoft Acquires Skype but Stalls Release of the Application on Windows Phone

For those of us who haven’t heard, Microsoft purchased the communication application Skype in May of 2011 for $8.5 billion in cash. We all know Microsoft. And Skype has become a worldwide phenomenon, allowing people to connect online by making calls in real time, chatting via instant messaging, or talking “face-to-face” via live video conversations. Most of us either use Skype or have heard of it, so the purchase of the application by Microsoft was unexpected and turned a few heads. The acquisition has been expected to greatly expand Microsoft’s real-time and voice communications capabilities.

Techies became even more intrigued when Rick Osterloh, Vice President of Microsoft’s Skype division stated that the Windows mobile phones would soon come with a built-in Skype application during the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. He said that the Windows phone operating system did not at the time have a voice over application from Skype, but that would soon change.

Then, Joe Belfiore, Director of the Windows Phone program promised that the Windows Phone would come with Skype in late 2011. However, that date has passed, and Skype is still nowhere to be found on Windows phones. Microsoft did not address the absence of Skype from its 2011 phones or clarify the previous statements.

Tech journalists are now beginning to estimate that Microsoft has decided to hold off on the release of the Skype application until the release of the Windows Phone “Apollo,” expected sometime in 2012.

Microsoft is already facing major competition in the mobile phone market from Google Android and the Apple iPhone, which both offer Skype. Microsoft phones are also simply less popular in the market than iPhone and Android. However, because Microsoft now owns Skype, they will have the power to do much more with the product than what a simple app may offer.

It seems as though Microsoft is planning on making a splash with the release of Apollo, so it will be interesting to see what other features come with the phone in addition to a partnership with Skype.

Jane Smith is a freelance writer and blogger. She writes about free background checks for Backgroundcheck.org. Questions and comments can be sent to: janesmth161 @ gmail.com