Skype has unveiled a happy, neato, fun-fun office in Stockholm for 100 of its happy, neato, fun-fun employees. Designed by Sweden’s own PS Arkitektur, the design revamps the inside of an old brewery with soft, poofy furniture and bright, berry-colored walls and lighting inspired by clouds — clouds! The office is so damned cheery, we half expect to see people doing trust falls and skipping merrily to the water cooler. Remember this image. Remember it well. It’s Eden before The Fall.
Microsoft is buying Skype. Which might mean a brighter future for Skype, but probably not. As David Pogue wrote in the New York Times a few days ago, these big fish-little fish acquisitions rarely end well for the little fish:
It almost never works out. The purchased company’s executives take a huge payday; promises are made all around that they’ll be allowed to continue operating independently; and then, within a couple of years, the product disappears altogether. A little star of the tech sky is snuffed out, for absolutely no good reason.
Yahoo bought GeoCities, Broadcast.com, HotJobs.com, MusicMatch, Konfabulator and Upcoming. AOL bought CompuServe, Netscape and Xdrive?all gone or irrelevant now. Cisco bought the Flip camcorder, and then killed it last month.
Skype’s Stockholm employees work primarily with audio and video development — hence the adorbs cables and earphone graphics on the walls — and Skype’s technology is obviously what Microsoft is after here. So, fingers crossed, maybe the deal won’t be so bad for all those happy, skipping, trust-falling techies, after all. Their office is awfully cute, and we’d hate to think what it’ll look like when Microsoft forces it to, as the motto goes, “be what’s next.”