Skype in the hot seat as eBay considers sale

April 19, 2008

It seems I am not the only person who dislikes the way Skype interfaces (or rather, doesn’t interface) with other applications and services. eBay has recently declared they would be evaluating the various ways Skype interacts with their ecommerce business. Their CEO John Donahoe mentioned that if Skype wasn’t toeing the line it would be sold off.

I have long had a problem with Skype’s lack of interface with other applications, like chat clients and IM clients such as Adium. By requiring a stand alone application for any and all uses, Skype becomes very difficult to integrate into every day use. In fact, many find themselves not using it at all in the face of so many Web 2.0 based multi platform options.

The current evaluation is not a comprehensive review of the Skype platform, but rather of how it works with eBay and the commercial aspect of the property. Skype is a profitable company, for whatever reason, and yet Skype is not necessarily making it the money for eBay it needs to in order to stay off the chopping block.

eBay bought Skype for $2.5 million back in 2005. Since then, there have not been many inroads made for using Skype within the eBay auction format. This is in keeping with the current Skype business model, which seems to be to make it as inconvenient to use as possible by requiring the user have Skype installed and use it exclusively, as opposed to simply adding to the Adium client for monitoring.

Skype is not currently a huge draw for eBay. In light of recent conflicts over the eBay fee structure shake up, I can’t see any company like Skype making it under the eBay umbrella. If eBay keeps to current practices, Skype should be toast before the year is done, because eBay is all about the bottom line.

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One Response to “Skype in the hot seat as eBay considers sale”

  1. Tsais:

    This just so full of typos and factual errors, the whole article doesn’t make any sense… “ebay bought skype for $2.5 million” …yeah right!

    And as for not interfacing, with other things, I think you should do some more research… ever heard of Fring.com? There are some others too.

    Skype is a voip application, with encrypted and very secure voice communication, that can run on your computer, a skype phone or cell phone. You can use Skype’s subscriptions to get a regular phonenumber and country-wide free calling for $3-$6 a month depending on what country you’re in.

    That Skype happens to support some IM features is incidental, merely an added bonus and doesn’t mean it should interconnect with other messenger services. Other messenger services refuse to interconnect as well, unless you buy a program like trillian or use an open source app like Pidgin, that mimic MSN, Yahoo, AIM and other IM protocols, in order to combine them into one interface.

    Granted, Ebay may not care about these distinctions, since they worry about ROI, which is only bad because Ebay overpaid for Skype. If you bought at the wrong price, you’ll be upside down in the deal. Selling the object in question, is just going to get the the visible signs of your mistake out of your sight, usually at the cost of a large writedown.

    I think you personally don’t use Skype cause you haven’t understood what it is, and further, your article shows sloppy research and sloppy editing!

    I vote you try writing version 2.0 of this article and put a little more work in it.

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