Monday, September 12, 2005

Why eBay bought Skype

So it’s now official: eBay bought Skype for $4.1 billion. That’s a lot of money, and probably buys at least a significant percentage of Estonia (economic peaks notwithstanding). Ross thinks that eBay bought Skype for the conversations this will facilitate; I have a slightly different take, though it’s more an elaboration of Ross’s point than a disagreement.

eBay already offers power sellers healthcare — and I think this acquisition allows eBay to become a powerful “virtual company” provider. Now power sellers can get their phone service from eBay — giving them a virtual storefront that goes wherever their laptop goes. If I’m right, then look for eBay to acquire one of the popular fax-to-e-mail providers before too long, and maybe even acquire (or build) their own web mail solution.

Some who read this blog may not know much, if anything, about Skype. It’s a fully-featured messaging platform, offering voice (computer-to-computer, computer-to-phone, and phone-to-computer), voicemail, and instant messaging. I wrote about it a while ago, and am pretty impressed with it. The acquisition by eBay insures it’ll only get better.

1 comment:

  1. I'm a big fan of Skype, and I think it was a good move for eBay, for the reasons you mentioned. On a recent business trip to the UK, I used Skype for nearly every phone conversation I had--business and personal. With "SkypeIn" and "SkypeOut" I could call people on their phones, and they could call my computer from their phones--all on a local Chicago number, even though I was sitting in London. That is very powerful for business--especially small business or one/two person shops.

    Yes, VOIP offers that (such as Vonage) but then I have to tote a router... this way, I just use the internet at the hotel, and with a small headset, I'm good to go. It's wonderful.