Feeds

Is Skype Microsoft's PowerPoint part deux?

Verb envy doesn't come cheap

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk

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. ®

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
Microsoft WINDOWS 10: Seven ATE Nine. Or Eight did really
Windows NEIN skipped, tech preview due out on Wednesday
Business is back, baby! Hasta la VISTA, Win 8... Oh, yeah, Windows 9
Forget touchscreen millennials, Microsoft goes for mouse crowd
Apple: SO sorry for the iOS 8.0.1 UPDATE BUNGLE HORROR
Apple kills 'upgrade'. Hey, Microsoft. You sure you want to be like these guys?
ARM gives Internet of Things a piece of its mind – the Cortex-M7
32-bit core packs some DSP for VIP IoT CPU LOL
Microsoft on the Threshold of a new name for Windows next week
Rebranded OS reportedly set to be flung open by Redmond
Lotus Notes inventor Ozzie invents app to talk to people on your phone
Imagine that. Startup floats with voice collab app for Win iPhone
'Google is NOT the gatekeeper to the web, as some claim'
Plus: 'Pretty sure iOS 8.0.2 will just turn the iPhone into a fax machine'
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.
The next step in data security
With recent increased privacy concerns and computers becoming more powerful, the chance of hackers being able to crack smaller-sized RSA keys increases.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.