eBay, Inc., the company that purchased Rent.com earlier this year, announced that it is acquiring Skype, the leading international VoIP service provider.
Prior to Yahoo’s acquisition of Dialpad earlier this year, there was significant speculation that it would acquire Skype. The acquisition by eBay would explain why Yahoo did not end up owning the VoIP company.
More importantly, this also probably explains the high premium paid for Skype. It’s easay to say no to an unreasonbly high offer from Yahoo (which I assume occured) for an even more unreasonably high offer from eBay.
That is not to say that I don’t think the deal makes sense (and I should state for the record that I am long EBAY shares). This combination really signals an extremely significant turning point for the web, in general. Once Skype has been integrated with the eBay platform, which Meg Whitman has already signaled, the combination will fundamentally and permanently change the way businesses (and consumers, too) transact online.
Without question, voice-oriented negotiations and transactions will prevail as a killer application. That is, at least, until Skype-video conferencing further enhances the process.
It will be difficult to track exactly how accretivee thie tranaction will be to eBay, if at all. Largely, because eBay is relying upon the enabling technology to lubricate its main business. So, while direct revenue attributable to dialing will be tracked, the “lubrication” will be more difficult to see.