back to article eBay ponders Skype bail out

eBay is considering flogging off Skype, the VoIP provider it paid $2.6bn for in 2005. The auction house has already written off $1.4bn relating to the purchase. It has failed to integrate the technology into its core auction business, and although Skype continues to pick up users, it is still struggling to find a way to make …


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  1. Sean Aaron

    no surprise

    That purchase never made sense...I still don't see how VOIP is a money-maker outside of the business market and I don't think Skype is making the inroads there...

  2. Richard

    Swings and roundabouts....

    Good news - may stop the intensely irritating Skype pop-ups on almost every ebay page :-)

    Bad news - even higher ebay fees to cover the loss? :-(

  3. richard


    it was an odd idea in the first place - the abilty for your customer that you've just sold your attic tat to - to be able to speak to thanks.

    if ebay now gets rid of paypal it might get some reeespect back from the buyers in the hood! iiieee....

  4. Anonymous Coward

    They never learned anything from last .com bust

    Thats one reason why the dotcom market is screwed up, people like ebay who pays a fortune for almost nothing then few years down the road... oops, sell it at rock bottom price and the whole market starts to panic.

    I can see facebook will be the one holding the knife waiting to really kill the dotcom, $15 BILLIONS !!!! who ever can think they will ever get anything back after investing ???

  5. Dirk Vandenheuvel


    EVERYBODY could have told them that years ago. Who is running those companies?????

  6. Pete Silver badge

    square pegs, round holes

    So you have a few $billion burning a hole in your paypal account - what a terrible situation to find yourself in. Suddenly your shareholders (for it is they who turn the screws) wake up to this. They start enquiring, then asking, then demanding that your give them MORE for their investments.

    What's a poor old CEO to do. You look around, but all you can see are minnows - mere $100million-worth companies. Definitely not worth your attention as you have 10 or 20 times that much - and you've got to spend it, or the shareholders will find someone who will.

    Eventually you find a "real" company - one that has a paper worth closer to what you were looking for. You wave money at them, until they finally start to pay attention. They quickly accept your panicky overtures and wave goodbye to you with a "thanks, chum" and barely concealed glee as they trouser the loot and run to the bank before you change your mind.

    Your online bargain-basement sales company now owns a phone company. When you wake up the next morning, after the euphoria has washed off and have one of those "oh shit, what just happened" moments. Then you start on the next panic - explaining to the people who's money you've just spent, what you've got for them. Hastily dusting off your complimentary copy of "Buying dot-com companies for DUMMIES" you start to rehearse the mantra: "convergence, strategic direction, synergy, growth" and all the other words that previously doomed CEOs have spouted when the buyers remorse has hit them, too.

    Chapter 2 tells you that as long as the new acquisition is still making money, you're probably OK, no need for the golden parachute just yet. However as time goes on, theshareholders (yes, them again) start asking what you're going to do with. Stumped for a reply, someone whispers in your ear "well the costs have all been swallowed, we could just dump it". Chapter 3 of the DUMMIES book tells you to wait a year or two until memories have faded, then quietly look for another sucker to unload it onto. Use the same weasel words as before and hope they are as dumb (or desperate) as you were. Get whatever you can for it, take the cash and then wait for the cycle to start all over again, as you now have excess cash on the books - though less than before. Repeat until all the cash has gone, or you get the boot.

    Of course, it's not your money ...... why should you care?

  7. Paul

    @ Richard

    Of course ebay may reduce their fees as they don't have to cover the Skype losses any more.

    Mine's the one made from flying pigs

  8. Steven Williams

    eBay it

    Perhaps they will put it for sale on eBay. Then perhaps the buyer can pay with Paypal and claim that the goods were significantly not as described or not delivered and get a refund.

  9. A J Stiles
    Thumb Down

    Skype is dead anyway

    Skype is dying anyway. Proprietary business models only work if you are already the dominant player (e.g., Microsoft with their Office file formats) and even then are vulnerable to disruption from outside. You can't hope get into an existing, established market that way.

    Imagine if an electricity company promised you free power for life -- but only if you used their special branded appliances, which could not be examined internally, wouldn't work on anyone else's juice, and furthermore their special proprietary sockets were designed so you couldn't measure the voltage or frequency. The only place that has even a glimmer of a chance of working is somewhere where there is no existing electricity supply.

    Communications only make sense if everybody can communicate with everybody else; and the only way that can be guaranteed is to have open standards.

    As long as Skype remains incompatible with Asterisk, it will be locked out from the "real world" of VoIP -- but if Skype *was* compatible with Asterisk, there would be no compelling reason to prefer it over any of the alternatives.

  10. Anonymous Coward

    Skype integrates with Asterisk

    SKYPE - if you look carefully IS able to integrate with Asterisk - but the cheeky beggars charge LICENCES for it - a quick scan of ebay dot reveals this.

    It is difficult to imagine a developer purchasing or agreeing to integrate this solution but a greedy "entrepreneur" would.

    Because Asterisk is the coat and Skype is the perpetrator !

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