Microsoft plans to close its Skype development offices in London, which will affect nearly 400 of its employees. Skype was founded in London in 2003 and Microsoft opened new offices for those workers in March 2013. Microsoft acquired Skype for $8.5 billion in 2011.
The Financial Times reported on Friday that Microsoft is planning on closing the London offices of Skype, putting up to 400 jobs at risk. Whatever its accomplishments, an anonymous source told FT that Skype has become “a shell of the company it once was.” Executives from the company’s early days have been steadily replaced with Microsoft staffers in recent years.
Skype London employees are currently in a “consultation process” with Microsoft, and the spokesperson added, “We are deeply committed to doing everything we can to help those impacted through the process”.
The competitive environment has also inarguably shifted under Skype’s feet. Consumer long-distance VoIP calling has long been a pillar of its business, but the spread of mobile devices opened a huge channel for competitors. The iPhone’s FaceTime, introduced in 2011, must have given Skype execs heartburn. But last year’s addition of free, international VoIP calls to WhatsApp can only have been the fulfillment of a long-repressed nightmare.
Credit: Financial Times, Fortune