by Anton Shilov
05/11/2011 | 06:16 PM
Microsoft Corp. will keep Skype web communication application platform agnostic and will continue enhancing versions of Skype not only for Windows, but for other platforms as well, the company indicated. Nonetheless, in order to capitalize on Skype, Microsoft will add more ads to the Internet communication program.
"Products and services that Skype users know in lots today will simply grow and be enhanced. Part of that commitment is to continue investing and supporting Skype on non-Microsoft client platforms," said Steve Ballmer, chief executive officer of Microsoft, at a press conference.
At present Skype has 170 million of registered customers and adds 600 thousand users each day, something that makes it not only one of the world's largest communication service, but also a great platform for advertizing various products and services.
The world's largest software designer said that eventually 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. Even though Microsoft is unlikely to cut-off Skype from Android or iPhone since it wants Skype platform to continue gaining acceptance by different customers, it will probably add certain exclusive features to Skype on Microsoft devices so that to popularize them over time. But first Microsoft will ensure that Skype is on all Windows-based personal computers. For example, the amount of Windows 7 licenses sold since the launch in 2009 is about 350 million units, which is over two times more than the amount of Skype registered clients.
"We dream about building experiences that aren't limited by distance or device. We dream about how to build experiences where people can enjoy and connect with the people and groups of people most important to them in the ways that are most natural. [...] We see enormous opportunity that brings together what people want: data, voice, video, IM, all on a single screen, whether it is a smart phone, a PC, a slate, or the TV. Microsoft and Skype together will define this future and what it really looks like," said Mr. Ballmer.
In order to keep developing Skype further and earn the $8.5 billion Microsoft paid for Skype back, it plans to use various advertising methods.
“We think advertising is a very powerful monetisation stream for us, if you think about the size of our userbase,” said Tony Bates, the head of Skype division at Microsoft in an interview with Financial Times.
But while there are plenty of opportunities for Microsoft and Skype to generate ad revenue and also give a huge boost to Microsoft's own ad business, some market analysts are not confident that Microsoft is going to fight its billions back simply because Skype users are used to ad-free communication app.
“The tricky bit is how you incorporate advertising into one-to-one communications. There have been a few attempts before to have ad-supported mobile phones and in general they haven’t taken off. But that’s not to say that it can’t be done," said Suranga Chandratillake, chief executive of Blinkx, an online video service.
A number of Skype users reportedly said that they would rather pay for the service than see a lot of ads.
“The challenge will be to identify new opportunities for online video advertising that doesn’t interfere with the user experience," said Norm Johnston, global digital leader at Mindshare Worldwide.