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Summary:

After attracting millions of users and billions in valuation, Skype is still seeking to answer the always-there question about whether Skype is a growth business. Thursday the eBay subsidiary unveiled yet another plan to try to tap into Skype users’ wallets, an all-you-can-eat SkypeOut service called […]

After attracting millions of users and billions in valuation, Skype is still seeking to answer the always-there question about whether Skype is a growth business. Thursday the eBay subsidiary unveiled yet another plan to try to tap into Skype users’ wallets, an all-you-can-eat SkypeOut service called Skype Pro which (like their Skype Unlimited plans for Canada and the U.S.) removes the per-minute charges for each call to the PSTN and replaces it with a small connection fee and a subscription cost.

Whether it’s a good deal for users is hard to tell at this point, especially since it’s only available initially in Europe. Clearly, more successful subscription models give Skype things it never had — contracts with users, and steady predictable revenue. Plus more cash up front, instead of waiting for people to call out to the PSTN to get paid.

Why is that important to Skype, more important than say figuring out how to be really disruptive again and move Skype to cell phones? Om noted a long time ago that there are still payouts tied to revenue figures. With Niklas Zennstrom back in charge, it’s not hard to figure out the motivation to get into serious competition with telcos the world over. Just add some cash to the bottom line, quickly! For customers, the question is — do you want eBay to be your phone company?

Bonus links: Skype Journal goes all PowerPoint to explain the latest move; and a reprise of Mr. Blog’s Skype losing-its-luster post, another good refresher on the why-more-paid-services moves.

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  1. Pay services is fine — but it’s too hard to pay for non geeks. Their interface is confusing, and there’re bugs in their credit card validation.

  2. I wouldn’t spend money on skype. I would rather use the free service which functions properly.

  3. Don’t know about the eBay being my VoIP provider, but one thing I don’t like in Skype anymore – it’s nov more complicated since version 3 was released, for example UI of actions what you can do while in chat window. That makes me wanna hopa that Google will add some more features to gTalk.. These days people use Skype or gTalk, hard to migrate to other voip software, ‘couse none of your friends will be there..

  4. Skype has to start making money, both for eBay (in regards to The Street)and for the founders, (in regards to the earnouts) From a strictly logical standpoint why would eBay want Skype to make its numbers. They already overpaid at $2.5 billion why would they want to pay an additional $1.6 billion in earnouts.

    I believe we will see that Skype didn’t reach the $200 million level for 06′ so the founders didn’t earn last years bonus. Because there is a huge amount of cash on the line for the founders they may make short-term moves to increase revenue. I don’t believe they are thinking long-term.

    BTW, I wouldn’t want eBay as my Telco and they shouldn’t want to be a Telco.

  5. GigaOM » Skype Revenues Up, but Usage Flat Wednesday, April 18, 2007

    [...] Skype’s plans to push users into higher-revenue calling plans starting to take hold? That might be one explanation for a surge in revenue during the past [...]

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