One more thought popped up while I was reading through the plethora of ePaySkype react and coverage: usually when a company acquires a site, a small duplication number shows room for growth. In this case, could it mean a lack of interest? Just a thought. Also heard from someone at one of the companies that chatted with Skype. The take? They can do a lot more and go a lot farther with the money eBay is spending on Skype.
Rob Hof, BusinessWeek.com: “I can certainly see that if Skype meets its ambitious goals, the deal could pay off eventually. It’s also a heckuva lot of money for a nascent business, no matter what the growth and the promise–and one in an entirely new area in which eBay has no experience. No matter how you look at it, it’s a whale of a bet.” Hof does a good job with eBay CEO Meg Whitman’s explanation that the deal, in no small part, is about lead generating.
Ross Mayfield offers a somewhat rah-rah take, possibly prompted by being on the scene at Skype’s Estonian offices. “… this is one API-based developer program that is starting to make sense. Joining eBay increases the scale of the platform and community that holds it responsible. Quite different from the small startups that try to position themselves with proprietary APIs as a platform when they have no community.”
John Hodulik, telecom analyst, UBS: “While the combination of eBay and Skype will likely expand the base on Skype users as these companies cross-market, the new focus on e-commerce will likely detract from its previous role as a stand-alone retail aggregator of international minutes. This move could accelerate the pay-to-call model, however, providing incentive for companies such as Yahoo!, Microsoft (both of which have recently announced VoIP transactions), and Google to move faster with the development of their own voice capabilities.”
Jeff Clavier, who puts himself on the “half-empty” side explains the VC payout. Lots of links (including us, thanks). “I am sure that we’ll learn more in the coming days, but I don’t (yet) see why eBay needed to buy Skype at such a price to get the product/distribution leverage that is mentioned in the release. Skype is a great service, but it is not the only one available offering a VoIP conduit or a potential Pay per Call solution.”
Dave Cowan looks at the VC payout and Rob Stavis, his partner at Bessemer Venture Partners, “Skype’s first VC.” Without giving the amount, he congratulates Stavis on a 150X-plus gain in under 2 years.
Dan Gillmor is concerned by the mix of Skype’s presence status and privacy concerns with eBay’s willingness to work with governments. “… the combination is disturbing. Up until now I haven’t entirely trusted Skype or its software. Now I have a more compelling reason not to trust it.”