Steve Ballmer & Tony Bates Talk About Skype-Microsoft Deal

If one thing was expected from Microsoft paying $8.5 billion for Skype, it was the criticism of the deal. Given Microsoft’s history of botching previous mergers, I wouldn’t blame folks for being skeptical. I believe desperate times result in either desperate actions or heroic acts. So, we shall see.

Nonetheless, I’m betting that Microsoft knows that it is skating on thin ice and will make this Skype deal work. This morning, I spoke with Steve Ballmer and Tony Bates about the deal and what comes next. Here are my quick notes:

Steve Ballmer

  • We wanted to partner with them but in late March/early April decided that we wanted to buy them and brought in a bid.
  • We loved Skype’s growing consumer customer base.
  • Tony Bates will report directly to Ballmer, and Skype will operate as a division of Microsoft.
  • We will support the non-Microsoft platforms, and it is in our best interest to do so. That is part of the strategy. Real diversity of devices is the key value proposition of Skype franchise.
  • This is about putting users first and giving them technologies they need.
  • This is about communication and will be part of our communication efforts.
  • Windows Phone 7, Outlook, Messenger, Kinect, X-Box Live, Hotmail and Lync are all getting Skype support.
  • We want to be a scale provider of communication technologies.

Tony Bates

  • The acquisition speaks to the strength of the business and the team
  • I realized that while we can do it alone, the opportunities are much larger between us.