Midweek Rumor: Google To Buy Skype

Internet rumors suggest eBay is trying to sell Skype to Google.

Rumor has it on the Internet that eBay is trying to sell Skype to none other than Google — even though the service proved to be quite a cash cow in 2008. With eBay reporting a downfall in revenue and Google still going strong, this rumor might actually have some substance.

Four years after buying Skype for US$2.6 billion, eBay still couldn't find a reasonable way to integrate the telephony service with its auction site, so various sources began speculating Skype's acquisition by search giant Google. At the same time, Skype proved to be a good standalone business, reporting a 26 percent increase in revenue last year.

Of course, nothing is official, and this rumor might never materialize. But it's quite interesting to analyze how Google could implement Skype's functionality into its products. The first thing that sprung into my mind is Google Chat, which is popular — but mainly with Gmail users.

GChat already integrates lightly with AIM, so Skype could be the next frontier. Users could be able to chat with their Skype friends as well, and not only by text, but video and audio too — as Skype does this very well.

Then there's Google's Android platform for mobile phones and devices, which could do with some VoIP love — maybe a native full-featured client and integration with other instant messaging services. And of course, there's Google's GrandCentral service , which could do with some Skype integration as well.

But economic times are bleak. Seems like eBay bought Skype for a huge price and didn't know where to take it next. Of course, Google has made acquisition blunders as well with Dodgeball and Jaiku, but as I see it, Skype services would make more sense integrated into Google's portfolio rather than eBay's.

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Daniel Ionescu

PC World (US online)
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