TechCrunch is reporting that “Something big is brewing between Google and eBay’s Skype.” Whatever is brewing, whether it’s a full-blown acquisition or a partnership, this could be pretty big. Michael Arrington says that for several weeks now, there have been rumors that the two companies were chatting and trying to work out details, and that an announcement regarding what they intend to do will be made in the “near future.” So what could this mean for eBay and for Google should a deal be worked-out?
For eBay this could mean that they are finally able to ‘rid’ themselves of a company that hasn’t done a whole lot of good for them. You may recall that eBay acquired Skype back in September of 2005 for 2.6 billion. At the time, one of their intentions was to use Skype to help buyers and sellers communicate on eBay, which they tried but it didn’t go over so well. Not much good has come from the acquisition and eBay even took a $1.4 billion dollar asset-impairment last year during the 4th quarter to help with the promised Skype shareholder payouts that totaled 530 million. At that point, people were suggesting that eBay should ditch Skype all-together.
What does this mean for Google? Well, we already know that they have big plans for voice communication. They already offer GOOG-411 for free which we know is used for their speech-to-text model, and then they acquired GrandCentral back in June last year. Clearly Google is interested in voice and Skype could help them do big things. Our other thought was that they could integrate Skype into Google Talk. We’ve already seen a screenshot from a Google presentation which showed a screenshot of Google Talk with a “show dial-pad” link, so that tells us Google wants to help users dial-out and place phone calls right from Google Talk. Skype could help them do just this.
A Google acquisition of Skype makes a lot of sense and we’re thinking Skype would love to be under new leadership with a company who could devote the time and resources to make them profitable. And as for Google, Arrington says, “Skype is the glue that can pull all the nascent Google products together.” This could be interesting…
Source: Thanks for the tip Omar!