Microsoft has acquired Skype for a record $8.5 billion on October 2011. Since then, the company has shared usage statistics until it stopped updating them in August 2015. The official number of users stood at 300 million since then.
The outbreak of coronavirus has exploded the usage of the video communications space. With work from home policies, companies are shifting their workspaces to online apps like Skype, Teams and Zoom. This trend is not showing signs of slowing down. So, Microsoft has confirmed plans to invest in Skype and add new features to the app. This comes after it has released Teams, another video calling app. Microsoft has also unveiled plans for Yammer; the software giant’s strategy is now becoming clear.
Recently, Microsoft shared that Skype has passed 40 million daily active users in March – an increase of 70% over February. The Skype to Skype calling minutes showed an increase of 220%.
At the same time, Microsoft has announced Teams for consumers is due to launch in the coming months. This suggests that Microsoft is prioritising Teams over Skype for both business and personal use.
Microsoft spokesperson also told in March – “With new features in Teams mobile app, we see Teams as an all-in-one hub for work and life. This will integrate chat, video calling and ability to assign and share tasks, store andshare important data with your group, [and] share your location with family and friends.”
But Jeff Teper, who is the CVP for Microsoft 365, said that they would continue to invest in Skype. As Skype is growing, Microsoft is not going to kill it and we will see Skype and Teams integrate their functionalities. Microsoft looks like it is taking a page out of Facebook’s Playbook to integrate platforms. Facebook is trying to merge its Messenger, WhatsApp and Instagram but is not trying to merge or kill any of these apps. We can expect the same with Teams and Skype.
Mr Teper also talked about Yammer – Microsoft’s enterprise social network. In March 2019, Microsoft merged Teams and Yammer. Together, it is a cross-company social network with a workgroup experience in one. Enterprises can still use Yammer as a standalone product, though.
It appears as if Skype is following in Yammer’s footsteps. But with increased usage of Skype, it is highly unlikely that Microsoft will kill off Skype.