With the $8.5 billion acquisition of Skype having been confirmed, it remains to be seen if Microsoft Corp., with access to Skype's desktop and mobile apps, can use the technology to upgrade its line of existing services.

This integration of technology will definitely include Lync, Windows Phone and maybe even Microsoft Outlook, as well as Xbox Live and Windows Live Essentials, according to a statement released by Microsoft. In return, Skype will now become a part of the Microsoft family.

By adding Skype to Lync, users will be able to communicate not only with people on Lync but with anyone in the Skype network.

Furthermore, by integrating Skype with Office products - Word, PowerPoint and Excel, it could be possible to launch a Skype session, via SharePoint Server, from within a document for instant communication with team members.

By opening a Voice-Over Internet Protocol (VOIP) session from inside Outlook, people may be able to interact with each other without wasting either time or server space by sending and receiving emails.

However, it could be that Skype users will not see much of an immediate change, following the latter's integration with Microsoft.

(This is) a huge leap forward in Skype's mission to be the communications choice for a billion people every day. The value proposition of Skype is being multiplatform across different devices, whether it's PCs, desktops, mobile phones, whether it's in the living room, and that's key and that must stay. And we're committed to that, said Tony Bates, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Skype.

However, not everyone is very convinced by the merger. PC World's resident curmudgeon, John Dvorak, believes that in an attempt to realize the dream of a billion users, Skype could face a degradation of quality, if we know anything at all about Microsoft. The Microsoft model is to milk the cash cow.

Microsoft's acquisition of Skype will not mean that the quality of the product is going to improve, said Dvorak, When has that ever happened? One of my favorite examples of this Microsoft degradation is the web authoring tool FrontPage. It was an independent operation bought by Microsoft and essentially ruined by the company to the extent that it had to be dropped as a product.