eBay purchased the VoIP company in 2005. eBay CEO Deb Whitman wanted eBays sellers and buyers to use Skype as a real-time communications tool during and after auctions.
eBay management is scrambling to save Skype
It hasn’t worked out well for eBay. The massive Skype outage that I discussed on 17 August gave new entrants and existing competitive rivals more opportunities to convert disgruntled Skype customers. Forbes published an article about the outage here.
… eBay’s stock barely moved on news Monday that Skype’s founder and chief Niklas Zennstrom is leaving and that eBay will take $1.4 billion in charges related to the acquisition in the third quarter. When eBay makes its quarterly report on Oct. 17, analysts won’t expect Skype to contribute more than 5% of the company’s revenues–that’s how much it coughed up in the second quarter, just $90 million…
In our local market, there are several VoIP providers who have targeted business and residential customers. Pacific LightNet, Oceanic Time Warner, and AlohaTone. Google recently purchased GrandCentral, which provides users with a single mainland phone number that redirects incoming calls to the user’s other phone numbers. The New York Times discussed GrandCentral in this 15 March article.
Even the incumbent local exchange carrier (ILEC), Hawaiian Telcom, offers CallWave VoIP voicemail services to cits mobile customers. See this 19 September 2005 Pacific Business News article for the initial announcement.
Meanwhile, one of the best-known national VoIP providers, Vonage, is losing patent-infringement lawsuits filed by Sprint and Verizon. Here’s Malik’s summary from 25 September. Vonage lost its CEO in April, and is struggling to keep customers.
It’s hard to compete when the key success factors in an industry are not in your favor.