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The Skype Webcast

Been sitting and listening to the Skype Webcast.  I’d recommend downloading the slides before beginning because the synchronization with the slides on the call is off.   Some of what struck me:

  • Skype’s growth, which everyone acknowledges has been phenomenal, is simply astounding.  At 26 months, Skype has over 50 million users.  Compared to EBay and PayPal, which everyone agreed was phenomenal in it’s day, Skype is more than a 5x speed improvement.
  • Skype, with it’s proprietary protocol, is the largest generator of SIP packets on the web today.  Yes, you read that correctly.  There is a protocol conversion at the gateway from Skype to SIP to PSTN.
  • This is all about monetizing e-Commerce.  Lead generation is the next big frontier for EBay, in order to facilitate complex, high end / high touch transactions.  Whitman talked about eBay with Skype being able to generate $2 to $12 per lead from merchants.  She expects Skype to accelerate categories like motors, collectibles, and business and industrial, which represent 40% of EBay’s business today.
  • Presence and availability, coupled with privacy, are one of the key drivers.  This ties back to my vision of me-centric communications.  The vision is to accelerate commerce, while addressing privacy issues, by including voice.
  • 25% of today’s Skype users are business users.  46% of North American VoIP minutes are Skype.  36% of VoIP users use Skype.
  • 10 of the 78 pages of the presentation were about Skype’s ecosystem of partners and applications.  If there were any doubts that Skype is a platform, it should be clear from this presentation what Skype’s view is.

So, where might this go?

  • Skype will become an adjunct, or maybe even a replacement, for the business phone system.  You’ve been seeing inklings of this for a little while.  Users are using the new call-forwarding feature to create small queues in their businesses.  The Skype Journal yesterday published a piece on the need for Skype gateways to facilitate PBX to PBX traffic.  One of the hot Skype Application categories is CRM.  Now this integration will accelerate.
  • Payment will become a feature of ordinary phone systems.  I always thought that this would be done through an interface to the banking network, and via a feature on your handset that would store your banking information securely.  With this announcement, it will be PayPal. 
  • EBay will evolve from being a silent auction to an online Souk.  People will talk, haggle, and discuss the details of the purchase.  You won’t ever be able to simply post an offering and forget about it, the way EBay has worked in the past.

It’s a helluva vision.  Business and individuals, interconnected, empowered, and transacting business in the most natural way possible — by voice.  

{ 1 comment… add one }

  • David Gibbons September 12, 2005, 3:21 pm

    Nice Summary – thanks – would appreciate your thoughts on this analysis …

    http://tinyurl.com/apeg5 … enjoy.

    1) eBay + Skype > dwarfs eBay’s market
    2) eBay + Skype > more profitable than eBay
    3) insane ammount of jobs will be created globally if they get this right

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