eBay’s Skype Detour

eBay shareholders can only hope that Skype housecleaning doesn’t stop here. The Skype acquisition never made sense strategically, and one reason Skype has struggled, we think, is that it is just a distraction to eBay (which needs desperately to focus on its core commerce business). eBay should immediately sell what’s left of Skype to Yahoo, Microsoft, or Google, all companies that offer portfolios of communications services that Skype might actually benefit from being a part of.

It might be premature to suggest that Skype is a complete failure, but having said that it does seem a stretch to suggest that it had any of the strategic value that Whitman & Co. sold investors on. I would like to see them take a page out of Amazon’s book and build a services offering around Skype like Amazon did with EC2.

Another alternative would be to consolidate the 3rd party developer community around Skype much like Webex is attempting to do with Connect. The opportunity left open by Webex is the very low end of the market, where Skype is a better fit anyways.

Either option would be a tough rock to push given that eBay seems ill-equipped to deal with developers and outside of their core market eBay has little relevance, but they do have a ton of small business customers and Skype already features a robust 3rd party ISV market.

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6 thoughts on eBay’s Skype Detour

  1. Pingback eBay waves wand, Skype value disappears - - mathewingram.com/work
  2. There isn’t one third party developer (this one included) that hasn’t been standing on a box for years (long before eBay) begging, pleading and screaming at the top of our collective lungs for a platform (not client API) to build applications on. The scary part, even after the entire dev. community has asked and spelled it out, it is just now beginning to get some attention from a few enlightened within Skype. Tough rock is an understatement, it is a bloody mountain. https://developer.skype.com/RoadMap

  3. Prior to the recent Skype upgrade I was scratching my head too wondering how/when/why wrt ebay’s acquisition and plans. The write-down doesn’t seam to be impacting the stock too much in the after market trading. Tomorrow’s open will be telling…

    It seams to me that ebay’s current need is more buyers (as that will attract more sellers- the rational behind buying Shopping.com). Skype with it’s social graph offers a wonderful opportunity to attract more buyers. The inclusion of business directory search that includes product reviews within Skype is a step in the right direction. If only they would integrate shopping’s epinions into skype to seed the reviews….. (there is more to say on this topic but battery is not permitting…

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  6. I spent 3 months working on a project at Hamilton Blvd and I experienced this first hand: ZERO integration effort. A total mismatch of vision and culture. Skype employees have their own building and nobody from eBay is really welcome there. eBay requires their employees to run Skype on their PCs but their coprorate firewalls don’t even allow outbound UDP traffic which makes it impossible to take advantage of Skype’s core features (P2P routing, etc).

    The last thing on the menu before I left was a plan to replace the internal PBX at eBay with Skype. Grasping at straws anyone?

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