Just about everybody I know who has heard about the sale of Skype to Microsoft has groaned about it. Myself included.
No doubt it makes sense for the entities involved. eBay, various investors and the founders all make money on the deal. Microsoft/Nokia now gets to be Microsoft/Nokia/Skype. Those not involved, including Google, Apple, and all carriers other than those partnering with SkypeNoSoft get nothing.
What the world will get is a set of services that work best only on Nokia’s Windows Mobile devices. Also count on fees for new and old Skype services, with complicated and confusing plans from the carriers.
Add involvements by the ITU (a Microsoft site, Silverlight and all) and governments that like tariffs on calls and data services, and we’ll see the Internet further subordinated to the same telecom business we’ve had since telegraphy. Same meatloaf, new gravy.
Also count on appealing alternatives coming out of Apple and Google, sooner rather than later.
As for Facebook, I have no idea. They’re well-placed to become some kind of player in the telecom business, whatever it becomes, but I don’t see them doing much more than continuing to be AOL 2.x.
I’d say more, but I have a book to finish. If you’re wondering why blogging has been slow lately, that’s why.
[Later…] I love Don Marti’s take:
Really, this is good news. While users are trying to figure out whether to download “Skype Live Small Business Edition” or “Skype For Windows Professional Platinum 7.0”, some startup will eat their lunch.