updated 09:05 am EDT, Wed May 11, 2011
Microsoft CEO vows support for non-Windows Skype
Microsoft chief Steve Ballmer in the media conference following the buyout of Skype repeatedly stressed that the VoIP app would still get support beyond Windows. Having mentioned support in the initial news, he added that it was "fundamental to the proposition of communications" that other platforms like Linux, the Mac, and non-Windows Phone mobile hardware got support. He pointed to the company's "track record" of Office for Mac as well as mobile apps for Android and iOS as examples.
"I said it, and I mean it," Ballmer said, referring to his pledge of support.
The Skype team will be its own distinct division in Microsoft and won't be folded in as with other acquisitions, like the Sidekick's creator Danger. Concerns surfaced almost immediately after word of the takeover of Skype that Microsoft's reputation for inter-corporate rivalry would take Skype down as established divisions might try to protect their own work.
Mentions of Microsoft's past cross-platform support could still give reason for worry given mixed practices. In mobile, Microsoft has a positive history and has even shipped iPhone apps before Windows Phone equivalents. On the Mac, however, it has a history of knowingly letting feature sets and support languish in hopes of driving Mac users to Windows. MSN (later Windows Live) Messenger, Windows Media Player, and sometimes Office for Mac have often had features left out or given lesser priority than their Windows equivalents.
Skype's CEO and soon division president Tony Bates still hoped to reassure anxious users and said that Microsoft had a "shared vision and alignment" for the concept of multi-platform support.