Online Super-Flea Market eBay is set to buy Voice Over Internet Protocol leader[[www.skype.com Skype]] for $2.6 to $4 billion. Niklas ZennstrÃ¶m and Janus Friis, who also created KaZaa, are finally set to make a fortune (they got comparitively little for their embattled file-sharing/stealing program).
What the heck is eBay going to do with a VOIP company? The <link><label>press release </label>announcing the deal<url>http://investor.ebay.com/downloads/eBay_PressRelease.pdf</url></link> speaks vaguely about Skype making communication between buyers and sellers easier. As a private company, Skype’s profit margins are not publicly known, but considering its low rates it cannot be a cash cow, although in its Webcast announcing the deal eBay calls it ‘a great stand-alone business.’
Two things are certain: This investor and ‘dis-Skype-ile’ won’t get the Skype IPO he was waiting for, and Messrs. Zennstrom and Friis are about to get paid very well for their programming skills.
But what is eBay thinking? Are they thinking? Or is this a desperate move to diversify before Yahoo, Google, and Microsoft, among others, begin to eat into eBay’s PayPal and auction business? Is this acquisition going to help eBay?
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