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Mark Evans on EBay / Skype

Mark Evans writes:

Here’s my initial take on why eBay made the deal. Part of it has to be defensive. It has become increasingly obvious the Web will be dominated by a handful of large companies (eBay, Google, Amazon, AOL, Microsoft and Yahoo and News Corp. if it keeps making acquisitions). The key consideration is traffic but in a different way from the dot-com days when attracting traffic was more about attracting VC or pumping up a stock price. Today, the strong growth of the advertising and e-commerce markets means traffic is big business. Skype brings more than 52 million registered users to eBay and 2 million paying customers. With this database, eBay can cross-sell its other services and, at the same time, generate new revenue from voice services as Skype moves into the mainstream.

I don’t think you can justify $2.6 billion for 52 million users, 2 million of whom are paying.  That’s $1300 per customer, so obviously Skype and EBay see a convergence of strategy.  Here are some potential areas they might see synergy:

  • Skype as a presence engine is a potentially huge addition to the EBay model.  What if you could ask questions of the seller in real time?
  • Skype with micro-payments adds the potential of real time auctions via IM or voice.
  • Skype as an advertising vehicle (a la MSN / Yahoo) gives EBay a whole new revenue stream.
  • Skype-In/Skype-Out as an arbitrage play is completely aligned with the EBay model.

What do you think?

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