MEDIA ADVISORY: Heartland Institute Experts React to Microsoft Purchase of Skype

May 11, 2011
Jim Lakely

Microsoft today announced it will purchase Skype for $8.5 billion in cash. The deal came together quickly – one month from offer to signing – and saw Microsoft outbid Google and Facebook for the purchase of the popular Web-based video conferencing service.

The following statements by technology policy experts at the Chicago-based Heartland Institute may be used for attribution. For more comments, see the contact information below.
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“Microsoft’s $8.5 million cash buyout of Skype is terrific news for both companies as well as existing and new customers. Added to Microsoft’s portfolio – which includes Linc, Outlook, Messenger, Hotmail, Kinect, and Xbox LIVE – Skype will provide a wide range of real-time communications options and move Microsoft out of the competitive box it had been put in by Mac’s platforms the past few years.

“One can almost hear already the antitrust sturm und drang this savvy move by Microsoft will evoke from other industry players who missed the boat by not sealing a deal to purchase Skype. That’s how the game is played – and one hopes Microsoft recognizes the importance of actual competitive business behavior rather than relying on bogus anti-competitive complaints to gain preferential market position as it is attempting to do with Google in the European Union.”

Bruce Edward Walker
Managing Editor, InfoTech & Telecom News
The Heartland Institute
bwalker@heartland.org
989/430-5557
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“Today, Microsoft has made a move to create better communications products for consumers by acquiring the best in the game. The acquisition of Skype brings more than 170 million connected users and consumer-friendly technology to the world leader in consumer and business software. With a deal in place, consumers stand to gain in myriad ways, their old Skype accounts now working seamlessly with Microsoft products ranging from Outlook to Xbox.

“The only fear now is how ever-expanding government will work itself into the deal, and how long the burdensome regulatory process will slow the potential for innovations in digital communication. Government would do well to step aside and let this deal produce great new technologies as soon as possible.”

Marc Oestreich
Legislative Specialist for Technology Policy
The Heartland Institute
moestreich@heartland.org
312/377-4000
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“Microsoft’s proposed purchase of the innovative Web-communication company Skype would be good for Microsoft, good for Skype, and, most importantly, good for Internet users. This deal will strengthen two major Web innovators whose competitors have been closing in on them for several years. It will increase competition in the industry, not suppress it, and will speed the pace of innovation, to the benefit of consumers and businesses nationwide.”

S.T. Karnick
Research Director
The Heartland Institute
skarnick@heartland.org
317/331-9441
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The Heartland Institute is a 27-year-old national nonprofit organization with offices in Chicago and Washington, DC. Its mission is to discover, develop, and promote free-market solutions to social and economic problems. For more information, visit our Web site at http://www.heartland.org or call 312/377-4000.