eBay and Skype?

First of all, let me say that I love Skype.

Now that I’ve gotten rid of AIM and Yahoo Messenger, I have only two IM clients on my desktop, Trillian and Skype.  If everyone had a Skype account, I’d have only one and it would be Skype.

As Lucinda said in her comment to my Goodbye AIM post yesterday:

the ability to go to talking instantly and to conference is great. and the quality is better than on my vonage line.

Yes, Skype is awesome and everyone should get it. Skype is also a great way to do a group podcast over a long distance.

But why does eBay want to own Skype?

Forget for a second the rumored price of $2bn to $3bn.

What’s in it for eBay?

This quote is from the Wall Street Journal’s story on the rumored deal:

Skype offers the Internet auctioneer a thriving
e-commerce business that benefits from so-called network effect, which
is a good or service that has value to a potential customer based on
the number of customers who already own that good or use that service,
said this person familiar with the matter.

Yeah, so what?  I still don’t see the synergy in the deal for eBay.

Back to the purchase price.  I think Skype is a bargain at $2bn to $3bn.  I think everyone should use Skype and I think it will be on every kind of communication device over time – cellphones, PDAs, etc.

I think Skype could be the ultimate phone company of the 21st century.

So owning Skype makes sense.  But I am not sure why it makes more sense to eBay than Verizon or BellSouth.  If Skype went public, I’d certainly want to own some shares.

Maybe some of my readers get this.  If so, help me out.  Let me know why you think eBay should own Skype.