Talko, the mobile communications startup co-founded by former Microsoft chief software architect Ray Ozzie, has been acquired by Microsoft’s Skype division, the companies just announced. All of the startup’s employees in Seattle, Boston and San Francisco will be joining Skype and working from Microsoft locations in each of those cities — with one major exception.
“I won’t be re-joining Microsoft, but I truly wish them well and look forward to seeing how Skype evolves as a result,” wrote Ozzie in a message to GeekWire this morning, praising Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella. “I continue to be deeply impressed with Satya’s leadership, and the company’s ambitions and progress in mobile productivity. Communications innovation will clearly be key to those efforts.”
Ozzie wrote of his latest startup, “I’m very proud of the team, and what it built and refined. We’ve learned an immense amount about people, teams, the present & future of voice, and the present & future of productivity.
“Given Skype’s distribution, and given the clear aim of the Skype leadership to fuel innovation in their products, this is a unique opportunity for both the team and technology. It’s a chance to make a broad impact with their work.”
Talko launched in September 2014. Financial terms of the acquisition by Microsoft weren’t disclosed.
Microsoft acquired Ozzie’s previous startup, Groove Networks, in 2005. Ozzie, the Lotus Notes creator and collaboration software pioneer, joined Microsoft with that deal, ultimately succeeding Bill Gates as the company’s chief software architect.
The Talko app, available for iPhone and as an Android beta , will be phased out as a standalone app, according to a post by the startup this morning. The app lets users conduct and record conversations — with a focus on making voice calls and messages more accessible, interactive and collaborative. Features include the ability to tag and bookmark specific moments of a call for easy reference and sharing afterward.
The post explains that Talko found a passionate audience, including a loyal following among the visually impaired. “However, as engaged as many of you have been, the reality is that the broad-based success of communications apps tends to be binary: A small number of apps earn and achieve great viral growth, while most fall into some stable niche.”
“For all the value and enjoyment it’s delivered, and for all the team’s listening and perseverance, Talko was largely on the path to filling a (passionate) niche,” the startup wrote. “We’re in this to have great impact, so it’s time for a change.”
In a post announcing the acquisition, Skype corporate vice president Gurdeep Singh Pall writes that “the new technology and talent will help us deliver great new features and capabilities in both Skype and Skype for Business.”