I'm sure the stock traders and insiders will probably be heavily pushing their clients to buy eBay at the opening bell. "VoIP is hot right now. You can't lose!"
Uh huh, we've heard that before.
I am happy for Mr. Zennstrom who will become a billionaire overnight and I thank him for creating one of the coolest Internet applications ever created. But eBay stockholders? You've been had.
Well, two years later, the NY Times has an article coming to my same conclusion, while Niklas Zennstrom attempts to defend the value in Skype. eBay said last week that it would take a $1.43 billion charge for the service. The article explains "the write-down was widely seen as a concession that eBay had overpaid for Skype, but Mr. Zennstrom, a Swede who was a co-founder of the company in 2003, defended its value."
Niklas points out that In the second quarter, revenue grew 100 percent from a year earlier, to $90 million, and the company recorded a profit in the first quarter, he said.
Ok, so Skype has $90 million in revenue in a single quarter. That works out to $90 x 4 = $360 million per year. In about 7 years eBay would recoup its $2.6 billion investment, right? Wrong. $90 million is revenue not profit. When you consider employee salaries, bandwidth overhead, termination costs, etc. their profits are probably more like $50 million, which would make it 13 years before eBay turned a profit with Skype.
However, this $50 million profit per quarter is strictly a guess. It could be higher, it could be lower. But even if you assume the $90 million per quarter was 100% profit (which it isn't), it would still take 7 years to turn a profit - that's a lifetime in any industry sector, but even more so in technology. Technology changes so fast, in 7 years, someone could invent something that makes paying for calls moot. Heck, today we have Jajah, Mobivox, Truphone, and a ton of other providers offering free calls.