According to the WSJ, eBay is reportedly in talks to buy VoIP provider Skype. News Corp. had approached Skype but apparently balked at the price.
Om Malik reports:
Skype co-founder and CEO Niklas Zennstr¶m shed some light on the company€™s revenue. Skype has 51 million registered users and more than 2 million customers. Registered users are growing 130,000 per day. €¦More interesting was the information about Skype€™s monthly revenue per user. According to Niklas Zennstr¶m Skype€™s has income of €œa couple of few dollars per month per customer€. Assuming that a couple of dollars equals three dollars, Skype has annual revenue of $72+ million.
This would be a big shift for eBay, which has been under pressure lately to show more growth. Beyond pure IP telephony, there are potential applications of VoIP for eBay's sellers (e.g., PPCall) if the rumor is true. (But PPCall/click-to-call would be cheaper to implement via a partnership than a VoIP acquisition — perhaps it's part of the "me too" tend.)
Related: Coverage and skeptical commentary in SiliconBeat
MarketingShift: Jason Dowdell discusses a Voxeo partnership with eBay amid the Skype rumors and some of the potential implications for eBay.
Om Malik with some thoughts from VoiceStar on the PPCall implications (that's the online-offline connection).