It has been almost three months since Microsoft shelled out a whopping $8.5 billion on Skype, and at that cost, it has always been seen as inevitable that Skype would be ported into Microsoft’s product range as quickly as possible.
The Xbox 360 is a major player in the video gaming industry, with over 25 million paying subscribers to it’s online Xbox LIVE service. Though nothing has been set in stone, a recent Xbox awards survey asked users which activities they most enjoy besides gaming on the Xbox. The choice of answers ranged from watching DVD’s to viewing Zune movies, and interestingly included “using Skype” as one of the choices.
The Microsoft team has remained relatively coy regarding full details of how it plans to use Skype due to the EU commission having yet to approve the buyout, although it was confirmed around the time of the takeover that the Xbox 360 and Kinect would be the first to benefit. Skype CEO Tony Bates reckons that the deal should be complete early this fall. “We already got through the US side of it,” he noted at a technology conference in Aspen, Colorado. “We still have Europe so it’s anyone’s guess, but I would say we’ve got a couple of months more here.. Maybe sort of an October time frame would be my guess.”.
Xbox LIVE, as well as Sony’s PlayStation Network (when it’s not being hacked), already provides a novel way to chat with friends online. The introduction of Skype’s more advanced tech and software can only improve this experience on the Xbox 360 for everyone. The deal may just be struck in sync with the fall dashboard update which would make it an ideal marketing chip for the Christmas rush. The Skype brand is popular indeed, with over 170 million connected users worldwide, and Microsoft will be looking forward to start seeing some payback sooner rather than keeping everyone waiting up for expansion of Skype’s services.
As well as the Xbox 360, Skype will also be introduced into a wide range of Microsoft and Windows-based products. Skype has very recently improved Facebook integration, which allows users to see online users through their Friends Lists, and Skypers will soon be able to connect with Lync, Outlook as well as other communities.