Microsoft didn’t want to be at the other end of that — that’s why it got as pricey as it did."
It also got pricey because just a few days ago, sources were reporting that both Google and Facebook were negotiating with Skype, which may have forced Microsoft's hand. Yes, Microsoft has a 1.5 percent stake in Facebook, but that doesn't mean Redmond wanted the social networking company to scoop up Skype.
A Facebook acquisition of Skype arguable would have been a better fit, which leads to this observation by Gartner research vice president Leif-Olaf Wallin in the Huffington Post:
"This will set Facebook back a fair bit. If they want to accomplish [voice and video integration] by organic development it will take them an awful lot of time. I think Facebook would have gotten an awful lot of value from acquiring Skype, but I'm not sure they have the financial muscle to do it."
The strongest (printable) opinion regarding the Microsoft-Skype deal comes from the Wall Street Journal's "Mean Street" blogger Evan Newmark:
With Skype, Ballmer isn’t just guilty of poor timing or overpaying. It’s worse. He’s guilty of putting Microsoft into a position where it is compelled to buy companies like Yahoo and Skype that nobody else really wants.
Microsoft’s board would be doing its long-suffering shareholders a favor by making this dumb deal Ballmer’s last.