Thursday, April 3, 2008

Google to Buy Skype?

As I was writing my post the other day, about a possible Google Videoconferencing Killer App sometime in the future, news broke that Google was planning to buy Skype from eBay. I read a few news stories and I thought that it makes a lot of sense for Skype to be in Google's portfolio along with GoogleTalk and the already released Ajax Language API. It would make this videoconferencing killer app idea more of a reality with Skype's average of 12 million users online and Skype already on mobiles and the PSP and Google poised to release the Android handset .

Although Skype has been devalued since eBay purchased it Skype does have brand name recognition and has become a mainstream videoconferencing tool though the help of Oprah who uses it on her television show and her current A New Earth web cast series.

So I checked my RSS feeds and found a number of posts from the last two days to try to substantiate the rumors. Here's a sampling of the discussion:
  • Google/Skype Acquisition or Partnership Imminent? from TechCrunch by Michael Arrington
    "Something big is brewing between Google and Ebay’s Skype, we’ve heard from multiple sources. Actually, for weeks now there have been low level rumors of the two companies talking, but nailing down any details was difficult. New information, however, suggests that they are in current talks and that a partnership or outright acquisition may be announced in the near future.

    Skype, acquired in late 2005 for $3.1 billion, has been a financial albatross around Ebay’s neck. eBay removed Skype co-founder and CEO Niklas Zennstrom in October 2007, reportedly due to frustration at the financial performance of Skype. Ebay also negotiated down the huge earnout due to Skype stockholders and took a $936 million one-time loss around the transaction. It’s clear that eBay wants to either unload Skype, or significantly drive performance.

    What does Skype bring to the table? Scalable technology and a proven platform in the VOIP, VOIP2POTS and P2P Video, to start - 100 billion VOIP minutes have been logged on Skype to date. At any given time there are 10 million simultaneous users on Skype. Skype is the glue that can pull all the nascent Google products together."
  • eBay Selling Skype to Google? Let Us Pray* from Silicon Alley Insider by Henry Blodget
    "As we've argued here ad nauseum, eBay (EBAY) has no reason to own Skype and every reason to sell it. Skype, meanwhile, would fit nicely within the communications platforms of Google, Microsoft (MSFT), or Yahoo (YHOO).

    With its strength in mail, Yahoo would be the best fit. Alas, Yahoo can't afford Skype anymore (except by using Microsoft-bid-inflated stock, which, for obvious reasons, eBay would probably be unwilling to take). Microsoft has its hands full with Yahoo, although one imagines that it could find room to at least take a peek at this one. And that leaves Google...

    ... Once integrated with Gmail, contacs, etc., Skype would give Google the most complete all around communications platform on the web. Google's global dominance, meanwhile, would provide an awesome distribution platform for Skype. Sounds like a match made in heaven. (Unlike eBay-Skype, which has always been a match made in delusion)."

Here's a few more sources: