Facebook, Google eye Skype deal: Consumer vs. corporate tug of war

Facebook and Google are reportedly pondering either an acquisition of Skype or a joint venture and strategically the two buyers couldn't be more different.

Facebook and Google are reportedly pondering either an acquisition of Skype or a joint venture and strategically the two buyers couldn't be more different.

Reuters reports that Facebook and Google are pondering some sort of deal with Skype, which delayed an IPO. Talks are very early so it's unclear what will happen if anything.

But let's zoom out a bit. If you have been following Skype's corporate strategy of late, it's clear the company is making a lot of nice business-to-business moves. Skype has a channel, key partnerships and an entry to small businesses as well as large ones.

In fact, Skype's regulatory filings make it clear that business usage is how the company plans to make money. Now let's fast forward to the two suitors at hand.

Facebook is clearly consumer focused. It's unclear what Skype's business strategy would bring to the table. Facebook isn't going to be a corporate IT player any time soon. Skype would most likely be integrated into Facebook chat and coupled with mobile somehow. Facebook-Skype would be compelling, but not necessarily to potential corporate customers.

Enter Google. Google and Skype look very compelling on many fronts. And one of those big fronts would be the enterprise. Skype integration with Google Apps could be compelling. Skype built in natively with Android would be interesting. And Google is likely to leverage Skype's business chops.

If Skype were to stick with its plan to target businesses Google is the clear choice. If that enterprise play isn't panning out then perhaps Facebook---and its likely IPO---looks better.

In any case, Skype appears to be at a crossroads.

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