Ralf Haller May 16, 2011
The probably most visible European ICT startup ever Skype changes hands again. And this time Microsoft pays a huge premium that most analysts who don’t get the hightech world don’t understand. Of course Skype is not worth 8.5 billion USD, and Microsoft knew that, but this deal was a fight between Google and Microsoft and Google dropped the ball at 8 billion or so deciding to better build than buy.
What will Microsoft now do with Skype? Well that will be interesting to see. They could with their financial power create a very powerful telco where you communicate from your desktop, laptop or mobile with your peers. Microsoft has other technology in the unified communications area and could well integrate this all offering their enterprise customers local as well as wide area networking over the Internet heads on competing with the telcos.
If this indeed happens we will see. Guys like Cringely doubt it. I am not so sure if he is right though… ICT markets keep spinning fast and remain highly interesting.
Ralf Haller April 12, 2009
Will the Skype founders buy back their brainchild with their own and other investors’ money?
Skype is probably the most visible high-tech success story in Europe and one that pops up regularly even in the US news. That alone is quite a success, as most other European companies don’t get much buzz going for themselves. But, for whatever reason, the two founders always manage to be in the headlines. Now again the New York Times reports on rumors that they are planning to buy back Skype from eBay. eBay has mentioned several times in public that they want to get rid of Skype, as it does not fit as a core element into their strategy and, as the newspaper also writes, they need some cash, too, to keep the U.S. operation running. I personally think it would be a great move, as the potential of Skype seems to be unlimited, but to fully develop it needs the right people and focus. eBay certainly does not provide that.
Another interesting detail was the fact that for some reason the Skype founders managed to retain the core intellectual property of Skype, which is its peer-to-peer networking. If this is indeed the case, then this shows two things: one that eBay not only overpaid them at the time, but also that they seem to not even have bought the core technology rights, which seems quite amateurish, to say the least, and from the viewpoint of the Skype founders shows how incredibly smart and forward-looking they were. Would be nice to have them back in a real promising venture, also because their last startup, Joost, does not seem to be moving anywhere really.
Latest: eBay is now looking to bring Skype to the stock market as the CEO said. I think this makes little sense and probably serves to have a better negotiation position with buyout firms.
Ralf Haller April 10, 2009
While it was possible to use Skype already for quite sometime through other service aggregators such as Fring starting from March 31 on you can directly install a Skype app on your iPhone or IPod Touch.
I have tried the chatting function and it works very well, better in fact than the Fring version so that there is no need for me anymore to use Fring.
The Skype iPhone app has been downloaded 2 million times the first week which is an unbelievable number. The potential are more than 400 million Skype users of course and with that creates some real threat for the mobile operators it seems. Interestingly, these iPhone Skype users seem new users who have not been using it on their PC before so the Skype community keeps growing with this too. Last but not least they are coming out with with Skype for other mobile platforms so soon it will be around on all smartphones it seems.
I still have to use the voice function but will certainly do so on my next business trip. The cost savings are tempting no doubt even if you have to first find a Wifi connectivity. The mobile operators have to react now with some very attractive service bundles I think. To try to block them from their network is of course another protective measure but hardly a long lasting strategy. Providing attractive international voice, data roaming packages is the way to go I strongly believe.