Sunday, September 11, 2005

eBay + Skype Combines eCommerce and IP Communications

eBay agreed to acquire Luxembourg-based Skype Technologies for approximately $2.6 billion in up-front cash and eBay stock, plus potential performance-based consideration.

Skype claims to have 54 million registered members in 225 countries and is currently adding approximately 150,000 users a day. It serves more users and delivers more voice minutes than any other Internet voice communications provider.

eBay said the acquisition would strengthen its global marketplace and payments platform, while opening several new lines of business and creating significant new monetization opportunities for the company. For example, in addition to eBay's current transaction-based fees, ecommerce communications could be monetized on a pay-per-call basis through Skype. Pay-per-call communications opens up new categories of ecommerce, especially for those sectors that depend on a lead-generation model such as personal and business services, travel, new cars, and real estate. eBay's other shopping websites --,, and Kijiji - can also benefit from the integration of Skype.

"Communications is at the heart of ecommerce and community," said Meg Whitman, President and Chief Executive Officer of eBay. "By combining the two leading ecommerce franchises, eBay and PayPal, with the leader in Internet voice communications, we will create an extraordinarily powerful environment for business on the Net."

"Our vision for Skype has always been to build the world's largest communications business and revolutionize the ease with which people can communicate through the Internet," said Niklas Zennstrom, Skype CEO and co-founder.

  • Skype was founded in 2002 by Niklas Zennstrom and Janus Friis.

  • eBay was founded in 1995 and is based in San Jose, California.
  • Jeff Pulver, Chairman of pulvermedia, issued the following statement on the deal: "Today's move by eBay in purchasing Skype is transformational because it signals the ability and value of an 'Applications Company' adding a 'Communications Company' to its portfolio. This turns the entire telecom industry picture on its head, and demonstrates that voice, presence, text messaging and other IP-based applications will be essential for the company of the future. Until today, we looked at building communications networks and applications differently. Telcos never were the developers of applications -- frankly, developing applications is not the telcos' strong suit. Innovation happens at the edge. Now we have an example of how communications will be swallowed by the edge. eBay, because it comes from a place where it knows about community, how to build community, and how to enable end-users within its community probably knows how to harness the products and services that Skype's technology will enable."

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