I still can not see benefit for Microsoft. At least not a 8,5 billion benefit. OK so Skype is a big brand, has some decent infrastructure & technology and 660 million users. Thats all good. But most of those users are already Microsoft Users, running Windows. So its kinda like buying customers you already have. The infrastructure is decent, but linux based, and the technology cant be worth that much money.
Microsoft has become very communications focused, it would appear as Bill Gates and Steven Ballmer view this as the way forward for Microsoft. However Microsoft's core business, operating systems and productivity software (office) is under attack and needs to advance much more quickly for Microsoft to keep that business long term. iPads, Android tablets and soon GoogleChrome books are capturing significant market share and changing the way we interact with computers. The "desktop", as we know it, is fast becoming history. Its just too static and difficult to manage. So with the desktop being Microsoft's core business, I am sure Steve Ballmer and Bill Gates have some plan for Skype to push forward their Windows and Office products - but i am not getting it. How exactly?
Until now i have not read any convincing analysis or comments by Microsoft how Skype can really help Microsoft push forward. I would think a significant buy at the operating system or enterprise level would make more sense. Maybe Vmware, Citrix, or potentially invest in hardware vendors to make notebooks that are more integrated with Windows to be able to match a MacBook air or iPad.
Skype will of course help the Microsoft Lync product. However, Microsoft Lync is hardly a significant product for Microsoft. Not now and neither in the future. At the same time Microsoft is making it self into a telecom company, and of course telecom companies are going to be wary of this development and avoid Lync. VoIP providers worldwide would be silly to push interoperability with Lync, after all its likely that Microsoft will take their business sooner or later. And telecom companies still have considerable clout.
So, I remain skeptical of this purchase by Microsoft.