eBay buys Skype?

Tom Keating : VoIP & Gadgets Blog
Tom Keating
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eBay buys Skype?

Greg Galitzine blogs about a WSJ report that claims eBay plans on buying Skype for between $2 and $3 billion.

Quoting Greg who cites the WSJ:

One of the unnamed sources in the Journal story said that “eBay was
keen on adding services that make it easier to buy and sell goods
online, as it did when it acquired the electronic-payment processing
service PayPal in 2002.”

Greg states he doesn't get the potential Skype acquisition. I'm with him.

Sure you could add a little Skype Me button next to each eBay online listing, but how many auctioners want to be bothered to interact via voice? Some might I suppose, especially for large ticket items such as cars, but more auctioners I would bet prefer to interact anonymously using email. There are plenty of web call-me button companies such as eStara that are a heck of a lot cheaper than $2-$3 billion.

Also, eBay has enough critical mass that is they wanted to add a "Call me" button to all the auctions and offer a free softphone download people would do it. I think with several open source softphones available eBay could have build their own VoIP softphone client for a heck of a lot less than buying Skype.

Update: Russell Shaw has a different point of view...
"If eBay keeps pursuing this, they are smart. I draw from the feedback of a close relative, who is an eBay Power Seller. She started her own business on eBay, but over the years, has transitioned it into her own site. She now views her eBay experiences as kind of e-commerce training wheels - a stage in her business that she has long transcended. While grateful for what she learned on eBay, she'd rather not pay the commission that comes with eBay sales. I have to think that there are tens of thousands of people like her. It would make sense for eBay to come up with strategies for additional revenue. Skype could well be it."

I don't discount that VoIP could be a valuable selling tool, especially for eBay power sellers that have just as good "verbal sales pitches" as they do "email sales pitches", but $2-$3 billion?

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