Skype is not working out very well for Ebay (ABAY). That is not just because the service has been down for two days, keeping it over 200 million subscribers off of the VoIP service. It is also because there has been very little money in it. EBAY paid $2.6 billion for Skype with potential back-end payments that could take the figure to $4.1 billion.
Who could use Skype? Comcast (CMCSA) among others.
Skype brought in $89 million last quarter, so it will be a $500 million business a year business, if it keeps growing. The operations has some paid businesses like "Skype Out" that bring in revenue, but it is still hard to see how the VoIP operation fits with EBAY.
VoIP revenue was about 6% of Comcast’s total sales of $7.7 billion last quarter. The company has 3.5 million customers, which puts it in first place among US companies. Of course, Comcast’s VoIP customers pay for their service, and most Skype subscribers don’t. And, a number of Skype subscribers are outside the US.
Does owning Skype give Comcast a tactical advantage in its fight against telecom companies like Verizon (VZ) and AT&T (T). Probably. Converting them to a paid service would be a challenge. And, Comcast might have to license the Skype platform to companies like Deutsche Telekom (DT) to get value in large countries where the VoIP service already has customers.
Skype is worth more to cable or telecom company than it is to online auction company. If it can mine the customers with paid services
Douglas A. McIntyre