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Microsoft Vet Ray Ozzie Sells His Talko Startup to Microsoft, Which Will Shutter It

Skype buys a would-be rival that never got traction.

Asa Mathat
Peter Kafka covers media and technology, and their intersection, at Vox. Many of his stories can be found in his Kafka on Media newsletter, and he also hosts the Recode Media podcast.

Microsoft is buying Talko, the voice messaging startup founded by former Microsoft CTO Ray Ozzie a little more than a year ago.

This one is quite clearly an “acqhire”: Microsoft’s Skype, which is buying Talko, will shut the service down. And a posting on Talko’s site makes it clear that the startup didn’t get the traction it needed to survive on its own.

Ozzie says he will not be rejoining Microsoft, but says the remainder of this team will go to work there. Here’s some refreshingly candid language from his company about why they’re selling the company and “sunsetting” the service:

“The reality is that the broad-based success of communications apps tends to be binary: A small number of apps earn and achieve great viral growth, while most fall into some stable niche. For all the value and enjoyment it’s delivered, and for all the team’s listening and perseverance, Talko was largely on the path to filling a (passionate) niche. We’re in this to have great impact, so it’s time for a change.”

And here’s video of Ozzie at the Code/Mobile conference in 2014, when he was launching the service:

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