Microsoft made a big move at the end of May with the demonstration at CodeCon of real-time translation of Skype communications. Of course, like many very-public unveilings, the translation feature seemed to be free from glitches and inaccuracies. But if this technology indeed delivers what it promises to deliver, this could be Microsoft’s biggest culture-changing moves in years, particularly when it comes to facilitating international trade.
In the last several years, when Microsoft saw Apple and Google dominate the tech landscape that was once theirs, many of its projects enjoyed tepid success or, worse, fell flat on their faces. Its $8.5 billion acquisition of Skype in 2011 may have been its best recent strategic move, as the service has maintained its popularity and Microsoft has effectively enhanced its functionality as both a domestic and an international communication tool. If this translation feature really is as sharp in real life as it appears in demos, it could be a real game-changer!