Saturday, April 19, 2008

Buy it Now! eBay Considers Selling Skype to the Highest Bidder

All the major blogs are reporting the news that Financial Times broke yesterday Thursday, "Ebay considers sale of Skype subsidiary." wrote, "Ebay will consider selling off its Skype internet phone subsidiary at the end of this year if it fails to find ways to use the fast-growing service to support its core e-commerce business, according to (John Donahoe) the company's chief executive."

eBay bought Skype for $3.1 billion but wrote down the value to $1.4 billion after it failed to integrate it online markets. Waters added that, "While the acquisition of Skype has widely come to be seen as a blunder for Ebay, the phone service itself has continued to grow fast, adding another 33m registered users in the first three months of this year to reach 309m. Although most use it for free internet phone calls, the addition of extra paid services helped Skype to increase its revenues to $126m in the first three months of this year, up 61 per cent from the year before."

Om Malik
, wrote an interesting post, eBay Snoring, Skype Roaring, pointing Skype's profitability which created some good discussion. A few comments suggested that Google purchase Skype and mash it up with it's telephone service Grand Central. Another reader recommended this link to the No Agenda PodShow where Adam Curry and John C. Dvorak have an interesting conversation about Skype.

Curry said
that while on a 6-hour flight he had spied on a Skype marketing person in the seat in front of him who was working on a PR plan which stated, "email is becoming the snail mail of our age that is being replaced by the use of Skype." Curry said he had a perfect view her laptop through the seats and read along as she created the Powerpoint presentation. He added a few other bits of information, like Hearst media and Skype have struck a deal to make Skype the platform for the presidential candidates to speak with constituents; Skype was being hyped as a tool for TV producers to integrate into their programming; and Skype has deal with Harpo Productions and is now a regular feature on Oprah's show along A New Earth webcast series. Curry and Dvorak both agreed that eBay may be working on a plan to prop up Skype's value before it unloads it.

Anyone care to make a prediction on who will be the highest bidder?

I still think Google is the likely suitor. It could the blend of Skype with Grand Central, and take could take advantage of Skype's mainstream acceptance, in part thanks to Oprah, and the estimated 30 million Skype users. Just imagine the ad revenue alone if Google could introduce Adsense to Skype as it's done to YouTube.

Related news:
UPDATE: (4/20/08)
Here's another perspective on a Google owned Skype, » Blog Archive » Why Google should buy Skype, Blog writer Jose Miguel Cansado says, "Add GMail, Google Docs, Google Calendar, and Skype in a package. Is there a better value proposition for SMEs and SOHOs for their IT and Communications infrastructure? Add a Linux distro for the business desktop, supported by Google, and you have a killing package for the small and medium business, with an unbeaten TCO..." (more)