The acquisition of Skype puts Microsoft into a commanding position in the consumer UC as a service market. To date, Microsoft has had little to say when Skype, Yahoo, AIM and others talked about enabling IM and adding voice and video. Their Microsoft Messenger voice services were less well known and less widely adopted. Today, Microsoft turned the tables, paying $8.5 billion to acquire Skype and its 170 million customers who value the “free” in free voice/video services so highly that they are willing to accept variability in quality of service and a service level agreement that specifically spells out, “Skype cannot guarantee that You will always be able to communicate with other Skype Software users, nor can Skype guarantee that You can communicate without disruptions, delays or communication-related flaws or that all Your communication shall always be delivered to other Skype Software users. Skype will not be liable for any such disruptions, delays or other omissions in any communication experienced when using Skype Software.” So, what did Microsoft get?
· 170 million customers whose online communications connections were one of the first social communications communities, and who are loyal to the Skype experience
· A worldwide peer-to-peer network that is proving increasingly able to deliver usable voice and video streams to PCs and increasingly mobile devices
· A portfolio of P2P technology media encoding algorithms with proprietary, non-public specifications
First of all, thanks to everyone who contributed to my "What Constitutes A Management Consulting Firm 2.0?" discussion in The Forrester Community For Vendor Strategy Professionals. This discussion has driven quite a bit of traffic (more than 3,600 views), but we’ve gotten just six replies so far, all of them very valuable. Please be sure to contribute to receive a copy of my planned update report on the consulting market.
The identification of future business models is one of the top questions I regularly discuss with consulting leaders. The other, and more tactical question, is about the spending and adoption patterns for management consulting services this year. In Q4 2010, Forrester surveyed 2,691 business decision-makers globally and found that: