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Stop wringing your hands. Skype is a huge success.

There has been fascinating soul searching on the web these last few days as the "failed experiment" called Skype is dissected by the whole world. Wall Street has belched up numbers, and concluded that EBay over-paid.  Bloggers are busy micro-analyzing the various failures, and offering advice. Me, I'm in the Jeff Pulver camp.  No matter how you look at it, Skype has been a remarkable achievement.  200 million users have downloaded the application, and use it somewhat regularly.  "Skype Me" is common parlance for many individuals.  Every telco in every jurisdiction worldwide has a Skype strategy, and for most of them it has involved dropping prices in order to compete.  Consumers won handsomely.

No, Skype isn't a failure.  By most definitions it's a roaring success.  The failure was EBay's when they paid so handsomely for a business that was dedicated to sucking the profits out of a bloated telecom industry. Skype's business plan was to take less money from consumers than a telco would for the same services. What were they expecting? What Skype hasn't done is live up to its potential.  The platform which many hoped would emerge from the momentum of Skype — the Voice 2.0 ideal of voice as an element in all applications — appears to have been sublimated to the needs of EBay's balance sheet.  The potential for Skype to utterly dominate voice in this new world has not yet been realized.

There's still time.  Nobody else has come close to what they've accomplished.

{ 6 comments… add one }

  • Andrew October 3, 2007, 6:31 am

    Skype is amazing, but in this scenario the arm chair CEO's are right – strategy to monetization has been somewhat of a letdown. I don't think that eBay really realizes what they have, as they clearly can't figure it out.

  • Stuart Henshall October 3, 2007, 8:11 am

    Yes Skype is a huge success. I was one of the first that identified that it would be and made it my business to grow awareness and enable others to define their Skype strategies.

    Not sure I like the term micro-analyzed the various failures. I certainly rested responsibility at eBay's doorstep and recognized the challenges that lay ahead for a new CEO. It bothered me that all the news was about writedowns; which are political, relate to exits etc. Whereas — as usual I put my hat on for how to get growth.

    I'd think my commentary continues to demonstrate my passion for Skype. It revved me up to think that Skype may get another opportunity to become the organization many of us dreamed about.

  • Mark Evans October 3, 2007, 9:45 am

    I think Skype would make for a great IPO – seriously (http://markevanstech.com/2007/10/02/skype-should-do-an-ipo-soon/)

  • omfut October 3, 2007, 7:26 pm

    Thanks alec:
    rightly said, I realy wanted to hear someone say these words. I dont think anyone can write a business plan to win 200 million subscribers from a softclient. Skype is a revolutionary product. These are the guys who showed the world that voice over internet protocol can be acheived wih good voice quality.
    Cheers,
    omfut

  • sten October 4, 2007, 8:54 am

    Thanks, Alec.

  • Stuart Henshall October 4, 2007, 9:24 am

    Yes Skype is a huge success. I was one of the first that identified that it would be and made it my business to grow awareness and enable others to define their Skype strategies.

    Not sure I like the term micro-analyzed the various failures. I certainly rested responsibility at eBay's doorstep and recognized the challenges that lay ahead for a new CEO. It bothered me that all the news was about writedowns; which are political, relate to exits etc. Whereas — as usual I put my hat on for how to get growth.

    I'd think my commentary continues to demonstrate my passion for Skype. It revved me up to think that Skype may get another opportunity to become the organization many of us dreamed about.

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