Ever since eBay announced it was buying Skype for between $2.6 billion and $4 billion, we've wondered exactly how they were going to make the money back. Apart from billion-dollar winners like selling ringtones, all the eBay talk of integrating Skype into its existing businesses really isn't that convincing from a business standpoint. Now, just nine months after announcing the deal, eBay has finally gotten around to putting a "Skype Me" button in auction listings in certain categories on its site. It says the Skype function will help facilitate transactions in certain areas it's identified as having the potential to benefit from instant communication, but some sellers say they've got no interest in live communication with potential buyers. This announcement raises a lot of questions: Do people really want to talk to eBay buyers and sellers? What took so long to roll this out? And most importantly, why did eBay need to drop billions of dollars to get this functionality? The other things being mentioned, like "integrating" PayPal and Skype so people can easily send money to others on their Skype contacts list, don't look like they'll provide much of a boost to the bottom line, either, and at this juncture, it's really hard to see the Skype buy paying off for eBay.
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