It’s been quite a busy day in the digital world. Microsoft acquire Skype for silly money, and Google announce a music service. The question that springs to mind for both – why?
Yesterday it was rumoured that Facebook were courting the debt ridden VoIP provider, but today Microsoft have emerged the victor having bought Skype for $8.5 billion – the largest sum it’s paid to buy any company. I could slightly get my head round Facebook as it would add VoIP and face-to-face into the social mix, but Microsoft I can’t quite figure. It’s as if it saw Apple’s Facetime and wanted in on the action. But Microsoft’s plan is to add it into the Xbox, Windows Phone, Lync and Outlook. I would argue that similar functionality exists within the systems, and haven’t they already got Window’s messenger?! And if the move is to buy the 170 million Skype users into the Windows family, I can’t see that being worth $8.5 billion. That’s a grossly inflated price, a figure that one of Sir Alan’s ‘Apprentice’s’ would pluck out of the air.
And so to Google and their music service – one that has no buy in from the music industry and also no music. Wow. Where do I sign up?! The marketplace has its leaders – Apple and Spotify – who do it well. Spotify may have changed its model, much to some users annoyance, but I’m still happy to part with £10 a month for all that music when and where I want it. There are also rumours that Apple is planning to release its own cloud version of iTunes, so as the leading online music store it would have the market covered. I just can’t see the USP of Google Music unless it’s for Android. The major players (and don’t forget Amazon) do it well at the moment. As I say, at the moment….