My son is in Munich right now doing a little tour of Europe. He has not called home for a couple of weeks because it will cost too much, or I’m too cheap, you be the judge. He instead sends messages on Facebook which frankly I only inhabit about once a month, but that’s not always convenient for him or me.Now that Microsoft has bought Skype, this could change. Microsoft recently launched a new operating system for mobile phones – Windows Phone 7. It has been well received by critics, but hasn’t really caught on by consumers although it is gaining ground quite steadily.Combine that with Skype’s voice, video and sharing capabilities that gives people the ability to make free or inexpensive calls over the internet, even internationally, and we’ll have mobile and desk phones that can be used all over the world at reasonable rates, if not toll free.I personally like that idea. But with a price tag of a reported $8.5 billion, I hope the benefits are many. Here are some:

The benefits for Microsoft:
Buying Skype gives Microsoft a boost in the mobility market, something it really needs. Microsoft CEO, Ballmer sees the Internet and Mobility as vital to their future since the company’s profits currently come from Windows and Office software systems – but other technologies, like Apple and Google are gaining ground. Microsoft already has a corporate PBX, chat, online meeting strategy and video strategy (also referred to as Unified Communications) with its newly packaged Lync Server (or online hosting bundle) and now Skype can help Microsoft get a foothold in the mobile phone market. With Skype joining the Microsoft camp, it will allows companies (as well as consumers) the ability to make cheap, or free, calls over the internet from corporate and/or mobile phones.

The benefits for Skype are:
Skype was started in 2003 by 2 men who had developed a file-sharing technology. It became popular because it offered free, or cheap, phone service which was especially appealing for international calls. Although Skype has grown, with 170 million connected users and $860 million in revenue, the company had a loss of $7 million last year.