Microsfot took everybody by surprise when it announced the acquisition of Skype last week. There were surprises on several points. First, analysts were surprised by the acquisition itself. Skype and Microsoft are two big and respected companies, but none of them has been in a strong position these last few years, and that kind of alliance usually doesn't create a very strong tip of the sword company.
Second surprise, the price. All the experts agree to say that Microsoft overpaid Skype, which has always been struggling to turn a profit. They say that given Skype's revenues and growth perspective, Microsft should be paying about half of the $8.5 billion the acquisition will cost.
At that point, many wonder what pushed Microsoft to seal the deal, regarded by many as a bargain. the answer is probably Apple and Google. It is true that Microsoft is still untouchable with Windows, but besides that, the future doesn't look so bright on the other markets. Most of the projects launched by the company these last few years, Zune, Windows Mobile… have failed. The only exception is Kinect, but still nowadays, the press is mostly talking about Android and iOS, not Windows Phone. It is probably the reason that pushed Microsoft to buy Skype, and also to pay $1.6 billion to Nokia to push the manufacturer to put WP7 on its devices.