Image via CrunchBase
In a prior era Skype was trying hard to get close to mobile operators. They had established deals with Three and Verizon Wireless and a few others around the globe. That all seemed to go on hold when Microsoft acquired the company and the focus became more surrounding integration with the rest of what Microsoft does.
Just yesterday news started to leak out of Russia that Skype is now supporting carrier billing meaning consumers can buy credit and charge it to there bill. To me, this is no surprise as Microsoft about 18 months ago started to view the mobile operators as their next channel of distribution. If you look at the mobile operators in the GigaOm post, Orange, Telefonica, T-Mobile, Telus and Verizon Wireless, all but Telus were on the short list of operators MSFT wanted to get close to first, starting in 2011. The others, AT&T and Vodafone, as well as China Mobile will likely come on board soon.
Fast forward to today. Dell becomes a major part of the Skype eco-system and the mobile operators and their billing platforms become the furture of online retail for Dell and all of Microsoft. The Microsoft - Dell loan is much like what Microsoft did many years back to help keep Apple alive, as it props up a competitor of sorts, but makes them a partner. But now, with the mobile operators and Microsoft being cozier, the distribution channel for Dell reopens in a bigger way. With Dell building tablets and PCs' as well as smartphones, one has to wonder why Microsoft needs Nokia much longer other than for manufacturing.
Now with Dell private, MSFT can make moves with Dell--possibly taking over the Nokia manufacturing facilities, using Dell's logistics and blending the clouds of Azure and BOOMI...