What Google would do with Skype that eBay won't

Skype for sale?Yeah, we know this is just a rumor, but it has quickly bubbled to the top of the VoIP blogosphere, and the ramifications are looming large. Skype may be on eBay's auction block (no pun intended). Among the potential buyers for such a property are the usual suspects--Microsoft, Google, Yahoo, and even Facebook if they could afford it. But the excitement about Google seems to be the most fervent. Here's why.

Google is a platform company. Their platform is all about monetizing other people's content. They do it by providing self-service solutions that capture revenue generated on the backs of other content producers. One of their clarion calls has always been--increase use to increase revenue. And nobody does this better than Google.

It was for this reason--increasing use--that eBay invested in Skype. But post-merger politics ruined the exciting possibilities. We never got widespread adoption of Skype on eBay because in order to promote Skype, eBay must also have allowed Skype's competitors (or at least refrain from blocking their use on the site). That was never going to work. The 1.0 mentality at eBay was just too pervasive, even with such a future-bright asset like Skype.

Google, on the other hand, opens just about everything up. So Google's idea of competing is to show the competition exactly what they're holding, source code and all. And that's the crux of it--if Google does get its hands on Skype, count on getting access to Skype you previously never dreamed of: full-blown APIs, web service models, the specs for the Skype signaling protocol, and yes, almost certainly, source code.

No comments:

Recent Posts