WSJ: EBay is in talks to buy Skype Technologies, a Luxembourg firm that offers free global phone service on the Internet to about 52 million subscribers. The New York Post, which first reported the talks, said the price tag could be $5 billion. The Wall Street Journal said it could be $2 billion or $3 billion. EBay has needed a pick-me-up lately, amid worries about its future profit growth and grumbling from users about higher merchant fees and con artists allegedly lurking in its auctions. Its shares fell about 4% today, as investors fretted about Skype’s big price tag and what on earth an online auction site planned to do with an Internet phone company. EBay has been branching out into such businesses as classified ads and property listings, but getting into the phone business would be a big leap. On the other hand, it would simply be following the lead of Google and Yahoo, which already offer such service. And a new service could wring more cash out of at least some of eBay’s 157 million users.
Om says it’s only another rumor! The rumor is, however, driving eBay’s stock price down.
Earlier this year, John Donahoe was named President of eBay. John is a former Bain Consulting Managing Director, in charge of strategic and financial planning, marketing, operations, product development and business development for the eBay North America and eBay International businesses. eBay has never had much of a strategic planning process, but with the advent of Donahoe, all this was supposed to change.
Well, if this Skype overture is any indication, I dread to know what else is in the works!
True, that 157 Million Users need to be further monetized with additional services. But Skype is not the answer.
In fact, if I were to put two large scale net properties together, those would be YAHOO & eBAY, making YAHOOBAY a fitting answer to Google’s rising power. Search, Commerce, Community and Content together could become the absolute winning combination for the future of the Net.