Sometimes It Makes Sense for a Fortune 500 Company to Closely Manage an Acquisition

On December 24, 2013 the online Wall Street Journal published an article, Fortune 500 Companies Seek Startup Mojo, which was written by Rachel King.

Ms. King quotes Peter Diamandis, ” . . . executive chairman of Singularity University and CEO of X Prize Foundation”: “‘We’re living in an interesting time where the rate of innovation around the world is exploding, and a company that is dependent upon innovation within their four walls is ultimately going to fail . . . “.

Perhaps Mr. Diamandis is correct, but once innovation has been achieved, I think it makes sense for a mature tech business to blend whatever results from innovation into its existing business infrastructure. A “hands off” policy is likely to meet the same unproductive end (meaning a failure) Mr. Diamandis mentions as he prods businesses to proceed in the manner he’s after.

On October 13, 2011, Microsoft announced the completion of its acquisition of Skype, SRL. But now, 26 months after the acquisition, it’s still not possible for a customer to reach a Skype Customer Service Agent via a telephone call. But Microsoft customers for Office 365, or its Surface 2 tablets can avail of a telephone call to reach a customer service agent. Does it make sense to juggle different customer service policies?

I don’t think so and think Microsoft is losing business as the result of this policy. I pay for Skype premium accounts for my business, but decided, recently, to remove “auto renew” from my subscriptions. Bottom line, my subscriptions are not configured as I want them to be, and can’t achieve my objective with the level of customer service I’m receiving from Skype. I’m sure my smaller business is not alone. It doesn’t make sense for Microsoft to tarnish its own brand with a wholly owned subsidiary incapable of providing levels of customer service consistent with those offered for core products.

Skype’s voice and video calling over Ethernet was a great new product for Microsoft. But please add in the top notch customer service Microsoft customers have come to expect, to keep markets happy.

Ira Michael Blonder

© IMB Enterprises, Inc. & Ira Michael Blonder, 2013 All Rights Reserved

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