Last post before bed. Over lunch today I turned to my business partner Howard, and asked "Why would a small business ever buy an IP PBX if they could reach their customers with Skype? Within a year or two, all you will need is a Skype-In number, and a basic Skype-enabled CRM to do business anywhere in the world."
Martin Geddes on Telepocalypse has written a long, but insightful post on the future of Skype and Ebay. His two big predictions:
Telepocalyptic prediction #1: We’ll see a “merchant edition” of Skype within 12 months, and this will be indirectly a paid-for service to eBay sellers. Skype becomes the “PBX for micro businesses”, and it’s the seed from which eBay can grow a bigger assault on the moribund PSTN application, particularly the 800 number market. The economic driver will be increased conversion rates, larger transaction sizes, lower transaction defect rates (e.g. wrong address), and increased up-sell during closure. Only an advanced multi-modal client can achieve these things.
Telepocalyptic prediction #2: Within 18 months, Skype will be giving away ougoing PSTN calling to places with low call termination charges, in exchange for people adopting the Skype/eBay identity and proffering personal data. eBay needs to grow Skype as fast as possible to keep as much calling on-net as it can. There comes a point when your network effect means you can suddenly drop the price for a wide range of vital services to zero (think: search, browsers) in order to support an adjacent business.
Absolutely right on.