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Summary:

Another day, another Skype rumor. The Wall Street Journal is reporting that Skype is in talks with eBay, but from the article it seems, these are just talks. Yahoo, Google, NewsCorp… so now eBay. Who’s left? Microsoft? I am not sure what to make of the […]

Another day, another Skype rumor. The Wall Street Journal is reporting that Skype is in talks with eBay, but from the article it seems, these are just talks. Yahoo, Google, NewsCorp… so now eBay. Who’s left? Microsoft? I am not sure what to make of the conversations, because frankly at $2-to-$3 billion, it doesn’t make sense for eBay to get into a whole new business. I can understand giving the consumers ability to click-and-call the seller/buyer.

But it can be done fairly cheaply and easily. When connecting to PSTN, eBay will then have to deal with all that comes with it, including a nosy and notoriously pesky FCC. Are they ready for it? Why not partner with someone – and there are enough desperate companies who will do this – and get the “voice apps” embedded into their products. There is a good reason why Yahoo’s Dialpad service still uses Net2Phone, and Google hasn’t touched the PSTN as yet.

Ari Jacoby, President and CEO of VoiceStar, a pay-per-call company emailed me with his thoughts, “Because 95% of the referral economy or lead generation business is offline (Rent.com), they (eBay) need a technology solution that is custom tailored to the performance-based marketing niche–one that allows merchants to pay for calls.”

A theoretical Ebay Pay per call offering is much more interesting than Ebay
morphing into MCI

Andy is normally right about a lot of things, but not this one. PaulK says, “color me baffled.” Fred Wilson says, “I think Skype is a bargain at $2bn to $3bn.” That’s a VC talking! :-)

Anyway this deal brings up all those issues I have been talking about for the longest time – their looming battle with Google, and the limit of the eBay network. In other words, two issues which hover over future growth like monsoon clouds.

  1. eBay Buying Skype? I’m Scratching My Head

    Another day, another report about the Internet voice startup Skype maybe getting bought for billions of dollars. But eBay? It sure seems a stretch to me, as it does to other folks, like Om Malik and McGraw-Hill’s own Scott Kessler…

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  2. eBay + Skype = eBaype?

    Now this is interesting. . . “eBay in talks to buy Skype, report says” from Reuters and Walls Street Journal.
    I wrote a while back on the applications for Skype in the e-commerce space – as a payment mechanism to support pay per call cl…

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  3. who will buy XTEN?

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  4. Apparently the talks are off… via Fark:

    “Ebay reportedly in talks to buy Skype. Talks fail when at the last second some jerk bids $3,000,000,000.50″

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  5. Apparently the talks are off… via Fark:

    “Ebay reportedly in talks to buy Skype. Talks fail when at the last second some jerk bids $3,000,000,000.50″

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  6. Apparently the talks are off… via Fark:

    “Ebay reportedly in talks to buy Skype. Talks fail when at the last second some jerk bids $3,000,000,000.50″

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  7. [...] Om Malik once more brings some reasoning to the table: from the article it seems, these are just talks. Yahoo, Google, NewsCorp… so now eBay. Who’s left? Microsoft? I am not sure what to make of the conversations, because frankly at $2-to-$3 billion, it doesn’t make sense for eBay to get into a whole new business. I can understand giving the consumers ability to click-and-call the seller/buyer. [...]

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  8. Is Skype kicking up free marketing by all these rumors? I sure is viral!

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  9. Skype has got more mainstream press today from every major news agency than I have ever seen. Is it all a hoax?

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  10. If it’s true – it’s a terrible idea. $2-3b for a company doing $70m in revenue (maybe) – talk about destroying shareholder value. What are they smoking over there?

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