eBay & Skype : SkypeBay (Rumors Were True)
The NY Times ran an article this morning confirms the eBay-Skype rumor. The deal is worth US$2.6 billion in cash and stock. Much of it seems to be about competition and not wanting to get left behind on VoIP.
“Communications is at the heart of ecommerce and community,” said Meg Whitman, President and Chief Executive Officer of eBay. “By combining the two leading ecommerce franchises, eBay and PayPal, with the leader in Internet voice communications, we will create an extraordinarily powerful environment for business on the Net.
More careful thinking is required to “grok” all the implications. But the quick response is that eBay can offer a range of services to merchants and consumers through VoIP. These may include call connection, PPCall, etc.
eBay is growing much faster internationally than in the U.S. and Skype has a large global footprint (think also about eBay-owned Kijiji [classifieds + voice]):
“One of the fastest growing companies on the Internet, Skype already has 54 million members in 225 countries and territories. Skype is currently adding approximately 150,000 users a day and has created a thriving ecosystem of products, services, developers, and affiliates. Skype is considered the market leader in virtually all countries in which it does business. In North America alone, Skype has more users and serves more voice minutes than any other Internet voice communications provider.”
In addition to growing in new directions, Skype functionality will allow eBay to give real-time calling options to its merchants and the shopper-users of eBay. This broadens the potential merchant base that can use eBay and it also “closes the loop” by adding an “offline” component to the e-commerce powerhouse. (Well over 95% of Internet-influenced transactions happen offline.)
Greg Sterling is managing editor of The Kelsey Group. He also leads The Kelsey Group’s the Interactive Local Media program, focusing on local search. Greg came to The Kelsey Group from TechTV’s “Working the Web,” the first national television show dedicated to e-business and the Internet.