Yesterday, May 9th, 2011, it was confirmed that Microsoft purchased popular VoIP service Skype for $8.5 billion dollars. Billion, with a “b,” not million. While there are myriad options in front of the massive corporation concerning how Skype and its video conferencing services can be spread throughout the product line, I’m personally more interested in how the acquisition will affect the Xbox division of Microsoft.
And, the answer, to me, seems clear cut and obvious. Skype and its video conferencing would work perfectly with Microsoft’s Kinect hardware and Xbox LIVE dashboard. When Microsoft first started prepping the world for Kinect, they made video conferencing a pivotal point in their campaign. Every clip for the product showed family and friends from all over the world connecting with the Kinect. Yes, you’ve figured it out by now, that connection helped earn the product its name, along with kinetic motion.
So, it makes sense that Microsoft would want to rope in one of the leaders in the voice chat marketplace. Skype has done a bang-up job with the technology and its limitations over more than half a decade worth of time. While video may not have been available during Skype’s launch, the inclusion of the service in 2005 made Skype a champion in its field.
Skype has, however, often been targeted as a problem in the arena of bandwidth consumption. While the service is on in the background of your machine, it actually consumes bandwidth by serving as a peer-to-peer agent in the game of VoIP communication. Some have claimed that it’s capable of burning through more than a gig of bandwidth every month. How that will translate to Microsoft’s usage of the service in, potentially, its Kinect software is unknown.
Still, it’s possible that Microsoft could simply be using Skype in its efforts in the mobile device marketplace. Kinect may actually never see any involvement with Skype at all. To me, however, the marriage seems like a perfect opportunity to line interesting hardware up with proven software.
[via All Things Digital]