Microsoft Turned Customers Against the Skype Brand

Microsoft Turned Customers Against the Skype Brand

An anonymous reader quotes a report from Bloomberg: Since acquiring Skype from private equity investors, Microsoft has refocused the online calling service on the corporate market, a change that has made Skype less intuitive and harder to use, prompting many Skypers to defect to similar services operated by Apple, Google, Facebook and Snap. The company hasn’t updated the number of Skype users since 2016, when it put the total at 300 million. Some analysts suspect the numbers are flat at best, and two former employees describe a general sense of panic that they’re actually falling. The ex-Microsofters, who requested anonymity to discuss confidential statistics, say that as late as 2017 they never heard a figure higher than 300 million discussed internally.

Chief Executive Officer Satya Nadella has repeatedly said he wants the company’s products to be widely used and loved. By turning Skype into a key part of its lucrative Office suite for corporate customers, Microsoft is threatening what made it appealing to regular folks in the first place. […] Focusing on corporations was a reasonable strategy and one shared by Skype’s prior management. Originally [former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer] and company pledged to let Skype operate independently from Lync, Microsoft’s nascent internet phone service for corporations. But two years later the company began merging the two into Skype for Business and folded that into Office. Today, Microsoft is using Skype for Business to help sell subscriptions to its cloud-based Office 365 and steal customers from Cisco. Microsoft has essentially turned Skype into a replacement for a corporate telephone system — with a few modern features borrowed from instant messaging, artificial intelligence and social networking. In closing, Bloomberg argues “the complexity of the corporate software (security, search, and the ability to host town halls) crowds out the simplicity consumers prefer (ease-of-use and decent call quality).”

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Boston Dynamics founder says the company’s dog-like SpotMini robot will go on sale in 2019, but doesn’t disclose price

Boston Dynamics founder says the company’s dog-like SpotMini robot will go on sale in 2019, but doesn’t disclose price


Lucas Matney / TechCrunch:

Boston Dynamics founder says the company’s dog-like SpotMini robot will go on sale in 2019, but doesn’t disclose price  —  After 26 years, Boston Dynamics is finally getting ready to start selling some robots.  Founder Marc Raibert says that the company’s dog-like SpotMini robot …

Sources: Facebook is exploring creation of its own cryptocurrency to facilitate payments among its users, but the plans will likely take years to materialize

Sources: Facebook is exploring creation of its own cryptocurrency to facilitate payments among its users, but the plans will likely take years to materialize

Alex Heath / Cheddar:

Sources: Facebook is exploring creation of its own cryptocurrency to facilitate payments among its users, but the plans will likely take years to materialize  —  Facebook is exploring the creation of its own cryptocurrency, a virtual token that would allow its billions of users around the world …