We will continue to invest in Skype on non-Microsoft client platforms,” said Ballmer during a news conference announcing the company’s plan to buy chat and Internet phone software maker Skype for $8.5 billion.
Following this morning’s big announcement of Microsoft buying online communication giant Skype for $8.5 billion, Mac and iOS users immediately questioned the acquisition as a way for Microsoft to turn Skype into an exclusive service for Windows Live-connected devices and other Microsoft products such as the Xbox. Steve Ballmer, however, was quick to reassure everyone that Skype will continue working on the Mac, iOS and all the other platforms it currently runs on (including RIM’s BlackBerry and Symbian), also citing how the company has a “track record” when it comes to these matters — Microsoft has a full version of Office 2011 available for Macs, and many apps for iPhones and iPads.
The question, however, is whether Skype will ever release a native iPad app as promised last year, and if the new owner will also bring some welcome interface changes to the Mac app. It would interesting to see Microsoft making a better UI for Skype, just as I’d be curious to see Ballmer heavily touting his recently bought software toy on iPhones and iPad. Time, as usual, will tell.