MySpace and Skype recently announced that Skype will serve as the backbone of MySpaceIM, the web-based instant messaging client for the MySpace community. The announcement came in front of a high-spirited crowd at the Web 2.0 summit in San Francisco.
As a result of this deal, MySpace users can use MySpaceIM or Skype to call both Skype and MySpace members. Both MySpace and Skype siezed upon the opportunity to brag about the joining of their enormous userbases in a press release.
With more than 110 million monthly active MySpace users and 220 million Skype registered users around the world, this partnership connects two of the most popular communications platforms on the Internet to create the world’s largest online, voice-connected community.
While the two companies certainly seem happy, the statistics don’t speak favorably for either. Only 25 million of MySpace’s users have downloaded MySpaceIM, and it is unknown how many will take the next step of actually using it. And while 25 million people is no small figure, it underscores the reality that MySpace is losing ground to Facebook in the battle of the user-bases. Things aren’t all rosy for Skype, either. Niklas Zennstr?ɬ?m’s recent departure has led industry analysts to conclude that eBay’s acquisition of Skype was a bust, though Zennstrom claims that his exit was planned long ago to allow him to concentrate on Joost. Critics had been doubting the value of the acquisition long before Zennstr?ɬ?m’s exit, citing the lack of a true fit between them.
Others have criticized the partnership as a security nightmare waiting to happen. An Akonix representative slammed it as “an IT department’s worst security nightmare: a massive, productivity-draining time-waster that opens up firewall ports, also presenting an unidentifiable, secure, secret stream of network traffic on a corporate network.”
Despite all this, of course, this pairing does have the potential to breathe new life into two companies with some cause for concern about future prospects.