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Report: Mobile Video Calling to Grow

Skype Buys Group Me

Skype is buying GroupMe for a reported $85 million dollars. While a lot of conjecture exists around the why, I think that the former Startup Camp participant's value was in the fact that they really do handle SMS for groups and with Skype heading into a small group/small business mine field where the mobile handset becomes a core "reach" location it was a piece they were lacking. That and some deep understanding of Windows 7 Mobile, which GroupMe has. I mean, Skype on Windows Mobile hasn't really been a focus for many years and with their new masters being the Microsoft folks, having development insight brings a team in that kick starts that from the outset.

The second reason is to be more competitive with Google. GoogleVocie has a very robust 1 to 1 text messaging platform based on Syniverse platform. But it's very much a person to person messaging solution, just like regular SMS. My guess is Syniverse comes out with a group solution very quickly to give the carriers a defensive posturing tool against Skype.

Third--Skype's SMS was limiting. It was one way mostly. Unreliable and not very well developed. It was really an add-on and not a core part of where the company was headed. Group Me solves that problem for them.

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It's great to see activity in Skype now part of Microsoft. So many companies once bought by the "big gorillas" tend to lose momentum and go dormant. As far as why "this one"? Skype was a nice innovative service a few years ago. But both their own services (skype out/in) and third party apps have not made the service expand in features. This stagnation is a killer for any company (service) in today's world. No matter how big and fast the adoption, sooner or later people get tired and go somewhere else. Skype can turn out to be a toy, or it can go in the way of expanding it's features and becoming a useful business and personal service. Let's see where it goes. (If you are interested in VoIP that is truly enterprise and easy to use: http://bit.ly/tikalnet -- I blog for Tikal Networks)

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