Feeds

Is Skype Microsoft's PowerPoint part deux?

Verb envy doesn't come cheap

Boost IT visibility and business value

MicroBite Microsoft already owns one verb: "PowerPoint. But it's not a very sexy or exciting verb in today's webby world. So, a few years back, Microsoft began searching for another, one that covers something lots of people do online. But Google already owns that one. But this week, chief exec Steve Ballmer finally got his wish. His company is now the proud owner of a second verb: "Skype".

But Ballmer's verb doesn't come cheap. He paid $8.5bn in cash. Not stock. Cash. That, apparently, is the price among Silicon Valley types for a loss making web telco whose management and VC backers have no clear idea on how to make any money beyond a theory of: "sell more ads".

Was Ballmer "had"? Or does he see something we don't. Microsoft paid $14m in 1987 for Forethought, whose software became PowerPoint. Back then, $14m was a lot for a tiny, privately-held software company in the Pacific North West, but Microsoft was involved in a death match against other makers of personal productivity software running on the PC. Fourteen years later, the competitors' names are footnotes in history, and PowerPoint helps keep Ballmer in silly-looking sweaters. It's sold as part of an Office suite that rakes in $14bn per year.

In this MicroBite, Reg software editor Gavin Clarke and All-About-Microsoft blogger Mary-Jo Foley peek inside the biggest deal in Microsoft's history, a deal that breaks Microsoft's acquisition rules and Windows philosophy. We try our best to understand what Ballmer is thinking and what it really means.

Also in this edition: Microsoft has tapped one of the creators of .NET to lead Microsoft's effort to rally developers onto its Azure cloud. Can we expect more technology brilliance or have we already seen what Microsoft has to offer? And where oh where are those big-ass cloud appliances promised last year from Dell, Hewlett-Packard, and Fujitsu? Perhaps we'll find out at Microsoft's TechEd show in Atlanta.

As ever, you can listen via The Reg's player, or by downloading the MP3 here or Ogg Vorbis here. ®

Boost IT visibility and business value

More from The Register

next story
NO MORE ALL CAPS and other pleasures of Visual Studio 14
Unpicking a packed preview that breaks down ASP.NET
KDE releases ice-cream coloured Plasma 5 just in time for summer
Melty but refreshing - popular rival to Mint's Cinnamon's still a work in progress
Leaked Windows Phone 8.1 Update specs tease details of Nokia's next mobes
New screen sizes, dual SIMs, voice over LTE, and more
Another day, another Firefox: Version 31 is upon us ALREADY
Web devs, Mozilla really wants you to like this one
Put down that Oracle database patch: It could cost $23,000 per CPU
On-by-default INMEMORY tech a boon for developers ... as long as they can afford it
Secure microkernel that uses maths to be 'bug free' goes open source
Hacker-repelling, drone-protecting code will soon be yours to tweak as you see fit
Mozilla keeps its Beard, hopes anti-gay marriage troubles are now over
Plenty on new CEO's todo list – starting with Firefox's slipping grasp
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Backing up Big Data
Solving backup challenges and “protect everything from everywhere,” as we move into the era of big data management and the adoption of BYOD.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.