Tuesday, September 13, 2005


I wonder what business leaders at eBay have in mind with the acquisition of Skype. Will the business venture become a "powerful ecommerce and communications engine"? Here is an excerpt from Martin Geddes's post, eBay and Skype: Back to basics.

Companies like Dell, eBay, Google, etc. got big by thinking big. They picked a unique business model, and drove it to completion without losing focus. To understand this transaction, you need to look for where the big prizes are.

The obvious one is the wrong one. Google and eBay are already in the business of generating sales leads. The Skype community, for all its size and vibrancy, is not being bought because they can be pitched to and turned into eBay users. Or if it is, this story will have a nasty ending where all the heroes get bumped off and the princess just grows old and ugly. (SkypeJournal.com, 09/12/05.)

Richard MacManus
of Web 2.0 Explores has thoughts on the communication aspect of the deal.

There are two main aspects of this purchase which intrigue me. The first is that eBay is building out its communications platform with this purchase. It will continue to run Skype as a standalone Internet Telephony business, but it will also use Skype's telephony and IM product line as a platform to extend its own e-commerce business. I'm not sure I buy the line about eBay buyers and sellers wanting to communicate with each other via voice, but I do believe it will open up new lines of business for eBay - lead generation is the example eBay used in its presentation to investors. (Blogs.ZDNet.com, 09/13/05.)

Jennifer Guevin of CNET News reports that the blogosphere is watching the outcome with great interest:

Whatever the fallout of this acquisition, the blogging community will be watching, analyzing and writing, with an eye to what the move will mean for consumers and telecommunications giants and how it will affect the way communication happens online. (News.com.com, 09/12/05.)

Do you think that this deal is a sign of a new dot-com era, or a "panic" act in order to stay ahead of the competition? [Editor's comment: If you want to kill some time, play the Pinkslip Panic game. Have you read Philip J. Kaplan's book, F'd Companies: Spectacular Dot-Com Flameouts?]

In the news: Court wrangling haunts Skype's rags-to-riches story by Dawn C. Chmielewski (Mercury News).

It will be interesting to see the positive macro-economics effects in Estonia. I think that the Baltic states could draw attention from new investors and entrepreneurs after lowering the flat tax. Here is an excerpt from Ivar Ekman's article, Skype is 2nd jackpot for Scandinavian duo.

But the glow of eBay was not only shining over Skype's two founders and the company's operations in London and its headquarters in Luxembourg. In Tallinn, Estonia, where most of Skype's programming is done and where more than 100 employees work, the news was creating an obvious if somewhat tight-lipped buzz.

"Everybody feels quite elevated here," said Jaan Tallinn, a senior developer for the company. "It feels good. How else could it be?"

But asked whether there would be any financial windfall for the Estonian employees, Tallinn would only say that "there is an options plan for the employees, yes. But I'm not sure how much I can expand on that." (IHT.com, 09/13/05.)


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