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Microsoft Buying Skype for $8.5B 605

Approximately one trillion readers wrote in to tell us that there is a big rumor that Microsoft is buying Skype. This follows an earlier rumor that the suitor was Facebook. Unsurprisingly many people are already wondering what it would mean for Linux users of the popular VoIP platform. Many major publications are running versions of the story.
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Microsoft Buying Skype for $8.5B

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  • Alternatives? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by rlp ( 11898 ) on Tuesday May 10, 2011 @09:02AM (#36081566)

    So what's a good alternative to Skype that works cross-platform? I use Skype with Linux and Android connecting to Mac and Windows users. Is Jitsi a reasonable solution?

  • The future (Score:3, Insightful)

    by CrackedButter ( 646746 ) on Tuesday May 10, 2011 @09:04AM (#36081592) Homepage Journal

    "wondering what it would mean for Linux users" - It means you're fucked! Sadly.

  • Re:Alternatives? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by binarylarry ( 1338699 ) on Tuesday May 10, 2011 @09:04AM (#36081596)

    Google Voice is pretty nice, gmail has an integrated client.

  • Re:The future (Score:5, Insightful)

    by poetmatt ( 793785 ) on Tuesday May 10, 2011 @09:24AM (#36081882) Journal

    Aaaand this is why you never go proprietary. They can stop an application in it's entirety without anyone being able to pick it up and continue the work.

  • Re:Grants Ballmer (Score:4, Insightful)

    by vlm ( 69642 ) on Tuesday May 10, 2011 @09:29AM (#36081956)

    How? It's not an antitrust case. MS doesn't have any presence in the VoIP arena (at least as far as I know.) There's not much to do about it.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tying_(commerce) [wikipedia.org]

    "The basic idea is that consumers are harmed by being forced to buy an undesired good (the tied good) in order to purchase a good they actually want (the tying good), and so would prefer that the goods be sold separately"

    Basically, once skype is carefully accidentally closed to all but win7, and MS is the monopoly provider of win7, skype will be tied to it.

  • Re:The future (Score:2, Insightful)

    by dave420 ( 699308 ) on Tuesday May 10, 2011 @09:38AM (#36082068)
    Soooo you spend years not using some very good software because it's proprietary and might force you, at some point in the future, to not use it? Sounds like cutting your nose off to spite your face. What if they don't stop supporting the linux client? Then you've permanently removed yourself from being able to use Skype, and forced yourself to use some half-baked not-as-good alternative. Genius.
  • SIP (Score:5, Insightful)

    by hey ( 83763 ) on Tuesday May 10, 2011 @09:52AM (#36082284) Journal

    Wikipedia says:
    The Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) is an IETF-defined signaling protocol, widely used for controlling multimedia communication sessions such as voice and video calls over Internet Protocol (IP). The protocol can be used for creating, modifying and terminating two-party (unicast) or multiparty (multicast) sessions consisting of one or several media streams. The modification can involve changing addresses or ports, inviting more participants, and adding or deleting media streams. Other feasible application examples include video conferencing, streaming multimedia distribution, instant messaging, presence information, file transfer and online games.

    *That's* the alternative.

  • Re:Grants Ballmer (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Waffle Iron ( 339739 ) on Tuesday May 10, 2011 @10:03AM (#36082442)

    There are dozens of decent VoIP apps out there

    But your grandma only has one one of them: Skype. Due to the network effect, Skype has an effective monopoly on free phone service. While the barrier to entry in this market is technically low, in the real world filled with real users it's probably insurmountable. It looks like Microsoft thinks that the barrier would take at least $8.5B to overcome; otherwise they'd go with their normal instinct to just copy other vendors' technologies.

    Grandma isn't going to want to unlearn Skype and learn how to use a sluggish Flash-based solution, either.

  • Re:The future (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 10, 2011 @10:30AM (#36082872)

    They'd be fools to kill the Linux and Mac client development right off, even if that is their long term plan.

    You made a funny.

    Realistically though, MS has been pretty good about cross platform support on their non-core technologies lately.

    MS' cross-platform efforts are token. At best.

    and while the Silverlight client for Linux is clearly no one's top priority, it's getting regular updates.

    There is no silverlight client for Linux. Perhaps you were referring to moonlight. It is worthless. Virtually no content on the web will work with it. It is cross-platform in name only enough to keep the fanboys happy and the anti-trust hounds at bay.

    Unless you just have moral issues with using anything associated with MS, I tend to think it'll be fine.

    Yeah, because MS would never buy a product and then kill its Linux support. Right?? [theregister.co.uk]

  • Re:Grants Ballmer (Score:5, Insightful)

    by localman57 ( 1340533 ) on Tuesday May 10, 2011 @10:35AM (#36082976)

    There are dozens of decent VoIP apps out there

    Due to the network effect, Skype has an effective monopoly on free phone service. While the barrier to entry in this market is technically low, in the real world filled with real users it's probably insurmountable.

    Yeah. It's lilke MySpace. I sure wish something would come along to improve on MySpace. But hey, what ya gonna do? They're entrenched.

  • Re:Bakers Needed! (Score:2, Insightful)

    by TaoPhoenix ( 980487 ) <TaoPhoenix@yahoo.com> on Tuesday May 10, 2011 @10:50AM (#36083198) Journal

    "A lot of the open-source stuff ... simply doesn't work correctly, unless you're doing simple stuff ... Hence the need to have MS Office on your machine."

    And ... this is why twenty years later we can't wholesale ditch Windows. There are a hundred thousand little cases of this one act play in existence. It's so bad you can make a grid of it.

    A. Proprietary Windows copy of something is very good. People do work on it.
    B. Desire to use something other than Windows arises, aka a flavor of Linux.
    C. Try to switch out all the proprietary programs for their OSS alternatives.
    D. Encounter enough that are half baked because OSS Devs have a fatal weakness in the Fit & Finish department.
    E. Declare "Not Ready" and return to Windows.

    So yes, I WILL use a Half Baked copy of something if that is the last link in the chain preventing me from ditching Windows.

  • Re:Grants Ballmer (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Luckyo ( 1726890 ) on Tuesday May 10, 2011 @11:48AM (#36084112)

    Problem lies in the fact that trying someone for "potential crime" opens a HUGE can of worms. Where do you plan to stop? Pre-emptive fines on speeders? Pre-emptive jail sentences for people with history of domestic violence going to a martial arts course?

    We have no punishments for thought crime, which is what you describe is about. They can think about crime all they want, but it's the ACT itself that's criminal. Not the thought. Even if precedence of such behaviour exists.

    What we do have is harsher punishment for REPEAT OFFENDERS. That is the main consequence of repeating the same crime twice.

  • Re:Grants Ballmer (Score:0, Insightful)

    by bonch ( 38532 ) * on Tuesday May 10, 2011 @12:06PM (#36084346)

    Your post is about things that occurred over 10 years ago, which doesn't refute the point about actually needing a bad deed to complain about. Companies buy other companies all the time, including Slashdot's favorite company, Google.

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