Skype is reportedly talking to Facebook about some sort of deal. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has been involved in internal discussions about buying Skype, while Facebook also reached out to the Luxembourg-based company about forming a joint venture, according to two sources with direct knowledge of the discussions, cited by Reuters.
Google has also reportedly held early talks for a joint venture with Skype. The discussions are in early stages and as is typical with rumors like this, all three companies are not commenting, and the sources wish to remain anonymous.
A Skype deal could be valued at $3 billion to $4 billion, while Skype's Initial Public Offering (IPO) is expected to raise about $1 billion. In August 2010, Skype filed a registration statement to go public, but the October 2010 appointment of a new CEO, Tony Bates, delayed the IPO till the second half of 2011.
Wouldn't it be nice to be able to start a Skype video call with your friends on Facebook? Integrating the video conferencing technology into the social network would be great for both companies, although both parties are still young and neither has a proven revenue model. I'm not quite sure Facebook has to buy Skype outright to get what it wants.
Facebook teaming up with Skype is not a new rumor (a potential partnership was discussed as far back as September 2010, but the two could not reach an agreement). When Skype 5.0 was released in October 2010, the new version offered voice calling between Facebook friends, but it did not include a video chatting feature. The integration was a one-way road: only Skype added some Facebook features to its client. If Facebook were to integrate the VoIP service on its website and its mobile apps however, the social network would suddenly be competing with many services that offer video calling, including Google's Gmail and Apple's FaceTime.
The rumor is a popular one because Facebook users apparently want voice (and video) chat. Just two months ago, the rumor got yet another boost: Facebook resumes talks with Skype.
Earlier this year, Skype added a group video calling feature that allows 10 people to videoconference together. Unfortunately, the option is only available as part of the Premium package, which offers group video calling together with access to live chat customer support, but sets you back $4.99/€3.49/£2.99 per day or $8.99/€5.99/£4.99 per month. Still, if this option was available via Facebook, it could make Skype very popular amongst the social network's 600 million users.