Microsoft is buying Skype for $8.5 billion – making it one of the largest tech deals in recent memory. For reference, Google paid $1.65 billion back in 2006 for Youtube. This deal is 5x the size.
Microsoft may have overpaid for the online VOIP service (voice over internet protocol), but the intent is clear: Microsoft wants to establish a firm foothold online. Aside from Bing, they don’t have much to work with.
2. WHAT INFORMATION DOES SKYPE USE?
Skype may gather and use information about you, including (but not limited to) information in the following categories:
(a) Identification data (e.g. name, address, telephone number, mobile number, email address);
(b) Profile information (e.g. age, gender, country of residence and any information that you choose to make available to others as part of your Skype user profile);
(c) Electronic identification data (e.g. IP addresses, cookies);
(d) Banking and payment information (credit card information, account number);
(e) Survey results;
(f) Information about your usage of and interaction with the Skype software, our products and websites including computer and connection information, device capability, bandwidth, statistics on page views, and traffic to and from our websites;
(g) Products or services ordered and delivered;
(h) The URL of videos that you have selected to appear in your mood message;
(i) Skype test calls made to ECHO123 (which are recorded and played back to the user and deleted thereafter);
(j) List of your contacts;
(k) Your user profile;
(l) Your username and password for other email accounts where you have provided this to us and requested us to search for your friends on Skype (please note that Skype does not retain this information or use it for any other purpose);
(m) Correspondence between you and Skype;
(n) Traffic data (data processed for the purpose of the conveyance of communications or the billing thereof, including, but not limited to, the duration of the call, the number calling and the number called); and
(o) content of instant messaging communications (please see section 13).
I doubt data mining played a major role in Microsoft’s reasoning for the acquisition, but it’s worth noting that Microsoft now has access to 665 million names, numbers, and chat logs.