Facebook and Google Eye Skype

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Facebook and Google Eye Skype

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I recently griped about the lack of native VoIP on the popular Facebook website. It's such an obvious lacking feature, that one has to go "hmmm... Why don't they have VoIP?" Surely, they must be secretly developing VoIP. Well, what if Facebook has been in secret negotiations to leverage Skype as the primary VoIP vehicle on the Facebook platform? Well check out this fascinating Reuters article where both Facebook and Google are eying Skype:

Facebook and Google Inc are separately considering a tie-up with Skype after the web video conferencing service delayed its initial public offering, two sources with direct knowledge of the discussions told Reuters .

Facebook Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg has been involved in internal discussions about buying Skype, according to one of the sources. Another source said Facebook had reached out to the Luxembourg-based company about forming a joint venture.

Google has also held early talks for a joint venture with Skype, the second source said.

A Skype deal could be valued at $3 billion to $4 billion, the first source said. Skype's IPO is expected to raise about $1 billion, several other sources said.

In my March 2011 'Facebook VoIP' article, I said this:
VoIP on Facebook seems like a no-brainer. So why the delay? Could it be that Facebook is waiting to launch this VoIP service right before Skype's pending IPO? I've already speculated that could be one reason why Google Voice 'briefly' had SIP support before Google pulled the plug. I theorized that it would benefit Google to wait to launch SIP support until just before the Skype IPO.

Ironically, I hit upon both Google and Facebook with regards to Skype. It would appear according to the Reuters article that perhaps instead of Facebook launching a VoIP offering just BEFORE the Skype IPO, Facebook could partner with Skype just before the IPO, after acquiring some stock options from Skype beforehand. That might explain the delay in Skype's IPO. Or better yet, perhaps Facebook might be in a bidding war with Google to acquire Skype, which would kill a Skype IPO entirely?

Fascinating speculation on my part. Will have to investigate further. But certainly a Skype acquisition seems to make more sense than a Skype IPO at this point.


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