It’s been a while blogosphere and this post has been a long time coming. Fortunately I have been distracted by way more important things, mainly welcoming two new little geeks to the planet. My wife and I could not be happier with our two little bubs and having kids really puts things in to perspective.
As much as I love what I do for workit’s just a job and family, without a doubt, comes first.
Anyway, that’s not what this blog post is about. It’s about Microsoft purchasing Skype last year. At the time a lot of people reported that it was insane paying however many billion it was for Skype. Madness even. But hold on a moment, I think it may well have just been a (calculated) stroke of genius.
So what’s my thinking here?
Ok let’s look at what Microsoft are doing with Windows Phone and probably Windows 8. From what I am reading Skype will be very tightly integrated with Windows Phone, to the point where making a phone call via Skype on your Windows Phone is pretty much the same as making a normal phone call. I can’t see any reason not to extend that deep integration to Windows 8, although it won’t be quite the same as picking up a handset.
To me this possibly means (on a Windows Phone) I go to make a phone call, select a contact and click Call. If my Windows Phone has a data connection and my Contact is also online and a Skype member it will just route the call straight through to Skype. I am anticipating this will be seamless and I won’t even have to think about it.
That also means I won’t have to think about the fact I am saving myself the cost of making that call through me Telco.
Now, if you are like me you probably also have a Skype Number. I use this as my landline for work. Imagine if that number also was attached to my mobile by means of a tight integration with Skype on Windows Phone that is effectively always running if I have a data connection. Someone rings my (Skype) landline, I am not in front of my beloved PC but instead my Windows Phone rings.
Hmmm that would be pretty cool.
So every day I read/see another 50 odd posts about the iPhone or Android and how they are (currently) dominating the mobile platform and that Windows Phone is DOA. Blah, blah, blah. I also hear rumblings about Apple and how they should spend all that hard earned cash and gosh darn it, just setup themselves as a Telco. Rumour has it Jobs himself even considered it at one point. What a hassle though.
Now, those that have used Windows Phone (like myself) already know what a fantastic mobile OS it is. There is no question about that. Anyone that tells you different is either a Fanboy or has never used it. So far I am not in love with either of the HTC handsets I own but I suspect that I am going to love the Nokia devices.
OS and Devices. Tick!
Let’s consider Skype now. It’s a great product, it has a big following, it does phone calls Skype to Skype for free or I can buy credit and make calls to any normal phone at vastly reduced rates to my Telco. If I need Wi-Fi access when overseas I can use Skype to purchase Wi-Fi access at a much better price than using the data connections from my Telco which, and lets be honest here folks,is priced at something tantamount to highway robbery, I can do video calls Skype to Skype for free and it works beautifully.
Infrastructure for Data Calls. Tick!
Now let’s consider Nokia. They makes great hardware. Really great hardware. They do great cameras on a mobile devices, both front and rear facing. They still have a huge following even though it has taken some knocks of late. They do great mapping and GPS on the phone and they make handsets that are affordable to the masses. With the upcoming Tango release of Windows Phone that and the alliance with Nokia are targeting cheaper, lower speced phones that are affordable to everyone.
Quality Hardware and volume of sales. Tick!
So, if you put all of this together you get a great OS, quality hardware and the potential to make free phone calls just like you make a normal phone call.
You get to (potentially) cut out the middle man (ie. the evil Telcos) that all handset makers and software makers hate dealing with. We as consumers also hate dealing with them (well I do anyway).
As time goes on and the process of using VOIP becomes seamless, which is possible with the tight integration between Skype and Windows Phone we could all become far less reliant on the Telco’s of the world. And, as the general population comes to realise what is on offer with Windows Phone and the iBrainWashing/Androidism subsides Windows Phone market share could well skyrocket.
Look out Mobile Telco’s of the world. Your business model might just be headed in the same direction as Kodaks.