HideTechdirt is off for the long weekend! We'll be back with our regular posts tomorrow.
HideTechdirt is off for the long weekend! We'll be back with our regular posts tomorrow.

There Goes The Other Reason eBay Bought Skype

from the two-strikes-and-you're-out dept

Back when eBay bought Skype for $2.6 billion (potentially $4.1 billion), the company tried to justify the decision with a variety of vague statements. However, two specific rationales stood out: (1) it would be easier for eBay buyers and sellers to talk to each other (2) Skype was huge in China, where eBay had very little presence. The China story didn't make much sense. First off, as had been announced before the acquisition even occurred, Chinese telcos were looking at ways to block Skype, a process that has continued to move forward. However, even without that, it was never clear why someone who used a free VoIP system would then turn around and start using an online auction, just because it was the same company. The first point, about eBay buyers and sellers talking, didn't make much sense either. As we noted at the time, it's extremely rare that a voice conversation is needed in an eBay transaction. Turns out that we weren't alone in feeling that way. The executive director of the Professional eBay Sellers Alliance, a group that apparently represents the top sellers on the site, says that most of the group's members have no interest in Skype, and prefer to discuss auction results via email as they've always done. So, we've now crossed off the two big reasons why the company was worth buying at all (neither of which explained the price tag, either). What else is there?

Reader Comments

Subscribe: RSS

View by: Time | Thread


  1. identicon
    Christopher Shaw, 2 Dec 2005 @ 6:08am

    Now, what might eBay be interested in selling?

    Here's why I think eBay bought Skype:

    Skype already has a large installed user base, and provides P2P transfer of much more than just voice - you can send files, etc. There is already built in user authentication, and a robust payment system capable of handling large numbers of small payments (for SkypeIn and SkypeOut). Hmmm...

    Could it be that eBay wants to use Skype as a service for its sellers to automate sales of music, say? Its very own P2P merchandise distribution system? Just visit an eBay store and buy the latest hits? And how much of each sale do you think eBay might want for this if presented as a turnkey solution of MP3 distribution?

    They may not even be really interested in the voice part.

Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here



Subscribe to the Techdirt Daily newsletter




Comment Options:

  • Use markdown for basic formatting. (HTML is not supported.)
  • Remember name/email/url (set a cookie)

Follow Techdirt
Techdirt Gear
Shop Now: Techdirt Logo Gear
Advertisement
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Essential Reading
Techdirt Deals
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Techdirt Insider Chat
Advertisement
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Recent Stories
Advertisement
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads

Close

Email This

This feature is only available to registered users. Register or sign in to use it.