Microsoft on Tuesday placed its biggest bet yet - $8.5 billion for Internet voice and video communications company Skype - on a deal the software giant hopes will help it better compete in a world shifting away from desktop computers.
Adding Skype's video conferencing capabilities to Office 365, the cloud computing version of the Office suite, would allow Microsoft to compete simultaneously with Google Docs and Cisco's teleconferencing solutions. Windows Phone can potentially bake Skype deep into the OS, not just as an app. And marrying Xbox Kinect with Skype is a dream for both: Microsoft can expand Kinect's video conferencing capabilities beyond Xbox Live users, and Skype gets an awesome motion-sensing camera to serve as its flagship hardware for the living room.
But Microsoft doesn't have the best track record when it comes to big buys, even when they seem to be a good fit.