Microsoft’s multibillion dollar acquisition of Skype in 2011 was a two way street. For the software titan the service became an integral feature of its future strategy, while the VoIP platform itself became much more robust and powerful over the years.

Long story short, here we are now with Skype as the default messaging client in Windows 8.1.

But there is another aspect to the deal — the product has actually affected and influenced Microsoft businesses. This hold particularly true for the end consumer market. Redmond has always focused both on the consumer and business markets, but now it is paying special attention to the former.

In an interview with TechRadar, Karlheinz Wurm, the general manager of product and test for Skype said that the acquisition of the VoIP platform provided Redmond with some fresh concepts and a different way of thinking:

“Skype has been very consumer-focused while Microsoft in the past ten years has been focusing on both but, for sure, very heavily targeting enterprise. Skype has very positively influenced the rest of Microsoft with this freshness, with this different way of thinking.

I think we’ve been influencing them positively in thinking about the consumer and how consumers think and what their needs are. Microsoft was more closed five years ago than it is now. Part of it is also that Skype is cross-platform and that opens up more conversations.”

Hard to fault this line of thought. Skype has always had its root in the end consumer market, and even when it kicked things up a gear into the business segment, it still never stopped focusing on end users.

This ultimately seems to be the beat Microsoft is playing right now. Enterprises, cloud and server technologies are coming along fine over at Redmond, but the technology titan is increasing its focus on end users with both of its leading operating platforms, Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8.

What do you guys think? Is the Skype acquisition every bit an important deal as it is made up to be? Or could Microsoft have chugged along fine without it? Do weigh in.

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