As we reported earlier today, Microsoft has announced that they are acquiring Skype. Articles on the acquisition on the Internet have range from claims that it is bad news to others wondering why Microsoft is making this purchase. Most people anticipate that Microsoft will integrate Skype into their products, ranging from Xbox to Office, but I am interested in how Microsoft will integrate Skype with Windows Phone.
In my opinion, the most obvious competitor to Skype on mobile phones is Google Voice. While Google Voice is a voice over IP (VoIP) solution on Android phones, it’s call management features make it a very desired part of Android, so much that Sprint is essentially replacing their voice mail system in favor of Google Voice. When I first got my Windows Phone I was surprised to find third party apps for it that work with Google Voice, which clearly show that there is an interested in the service amongst Windows Phone users.
Skype and Google Voice both have voice mail, while Google Voice has call routing and Skype has VoIP. For Skype to match Google Voice’s capabilities Microsoft will have to add call routing to it, along with integration with Windows Phone so that calls are seamlessly sent either via Skype or the mobile network. I think Skype’s programmers, working with Microsoft’s Windows Phone team could fairly easily add the missing features, which would fill one feature gap that currently exists between Android and Windows Phone.