One of the more interesting angles on Facebook’s rollout of a new Skype video chat feature today is Microsoft’s role as a big player in the background — as the prospective acquirer of Skype and a minority shareholder in Facebook.
Here’s what Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and Skype CEO Tony Bates had to say when asked about the subject during a news conference unveiling the feature today in Palo Alto …
Zuckerberg: Around Microsoft, yeah, I mean, we have a really good relationship with Microsoft, where we work with them on a lot of different stuff. Search, ads in the past, Bing, now this. I think that this is … I mean, it would have been fine when you guys were an independent company, too. But now that you guys are owned by Microsoft that gives us a sense of stability that it’s going to be with a company that we can trust, which is good, and that we know we have a longstanding relationship with.
Bates: Maybe just to add — one, we’re not owned by Microsoft yet, we haven’t closed. We’re in the process. But we’re very hopeful, subject to regulatory approval. But just in terms of this, I think we started talking about this partnership, and really taking it to the next level way before that, from an independent point of view. I would share a little story — the day we announced (the Microsoft-Skype acquisition), we definitely came to see Mark, I think it was probably for both of us — Steve (Ballmer) and I the most important strategic relationship, and if anything it just got stronger because of the history and the ties. Steve and myself are really aligned on this, and we’re off to a great start with the product.
Zuckerberg: Yeah, I mean, we had everything that we wanted to do in line before that, and then we’re like, OK, well, now is this acquisition going to change anything? No? Alright, keep going.