Microsoft Buys Skype for $8.5b — Are Video Calls From Your Xbox Kinect Coming Soon?

Microsoft has acquired Skype for $8.5 billion according to a statement by Microsoft Tuesday morning, and it will be for $8.5 billion in cash.  This seems to be part of a larger strategy, as Microsoft mentions Skype will support devices like Xbox, Kinect and Windows Phone.

So what can Microsoft do with Skype, one of the largest voice-over-ip services on the web?  Well for starters, imagine your Xbox and Kinect, which are sitting in your living room on the biggest TV in the house, could make phone and video calls to anywhere in the world?  That’s right, the Kinect already has a microphone so your family could easily just sit back and have a family-to-family chat with another family.  This has tremendous potential.

Since the Kinect has the voice activation as well, imagine browsing through your phone book just using your hands and voice.  “Skype Address Book” could bring up the address book and you could wipe your hands to sort and browse your contacts.  “Call Jones” could be a command you say to call another family.

Microsoft also mentioned that the tools would be used in the Windows Phone as a standard, so families could video call their teenage son, for example, right from the living room.

I expect that while Microsoft will release this for Kinect, there are rumors that Microsoft has been giving out new XBox kits to developers and I wouldn’t be surprised if they build in Skype/Kinect functionality.  That’d be a pretty ‘killer app’.

Speaking on behalf of the investor group that sold Skype to Microsoft, Egon Durban, managing director of Silver Lake, said: “We are thrilled with Skype’s transformation during the period of our ownership and grateful for the extraordinary commitment of its management team and employees. We are excited about Skype’s long-term future with Microsoft, as it is poised to become one of the world’s most dynamic and comprehensive communications platforms.”

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