Archive for September, 2005

Ebay, PayPal, Skype, Tellme, Voxeo & MAP Telecom: the hidden link

Monday, September 12th, 2005

A busy week it has been: last Thursday, Skype announced its Voice Services program with Tellme, Voxeo and MAP Telecom; and today the rumours of Ebay/PayPal purchasing Skype (for $2.6 billion) turn out to be true.

Amid the mostly negative comments (e.g. on SlashDot) about the 10-year old Internet giant swallowing the SIP-no-thanks Internet Phone company, one strategic analysis stands out: according to donnacha, the Skype takeover is not primarily intended to create synergy with Ebay as we know it, but with PayPal. The goal would be to create:

an entirely new market of homebrew premium phone services, allowing anyone, anywhere to sell their time/expertise on a per minute basis

With PayPal moving more credibly towards micropayments, as donnacha argues, Ebay might indeed extend its platform to sell on-the-fly expertise. It won’t be long then, before we get Skype-branded “knowledge or expertise categories” appearing next to the antiques, dolls and bears.

What about Tellme, Voxeo and MAP Telecom then? Via the Voice Services program, you and me will be able to offer our own VoiceXML applications to the world. And if we’re successful, we’ll even get paid for it, on our PayPal account. As spkydog pointed out, this may indeed be the beginning of the long-announced Voice Web.