We pointed out back in April that Skype's financial performance didn't look like it would be strong enough to meet some performance metrics to trigger some of the $1.5 billion in earn-outs that were part of its deal with eBay. Now, there's speculation that those goals were indeed missed, amid further questions about just how eBay will monetize Skype. eBay's strategy for Skype has never been clear, and many of the things it touted in the deal -- like the ability for eBay sellers to put a Skype link in their listings, so potential buyers could easily call them -- haven't paid off. While sales are expected to have tripled in 2006 to $195 million, that's still not enough of a money-spinner to validate the billions eBay dropped for the company. Skype faces a big challenge in converting users of its free services into paying customers, but its strategy remains questionable. An exec says that they're focusing on adding content and e-commerce into the mix with things like ringtones and multi-user chats about certain topics called Skypecasts, but it seems like Skype's missing out on some markets that could prove more lucrative. For instance, Skype could be a valuable tool for many businesses, particularly small ones, but its efforts to target this market have been pretty paltry, and it seems to do very little marketing to bolster awareness of its services as business tools. Few of the oft-hyped "synergies" have failed to materialize, though further integration of Skype and PayPal could boost the latter's transfer volume. Overall, eBay's strategy to build Skype's business remains as unclear today as it was when they said they were buying it.
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