If I am one of Skype's major competitors- especially the softphone providers who came out of the IM world, I might regard last night's eBay-Skype "Ask The Seller a Question" announcement with little more than mild amusement.
This functionality may, in fact, motivate eBay sellers to install free SkypeMe buttons in droves. But if I am a Yahoo!, or Google, or AOL, or Gizmo, I have little to worry about. That's because this eBay-Skype deal is of prime appeal to the eBay community. Is this new feature going to cost me new accounts and per-minute income by encouraging eBay buyers to forego my softphone in favor of Skype's?
Hardly. And even if it does, then I have the option of my own click-to-call on pretty much any e-commerce site that happens not to be eBay.
What's even better, I am free to strike up these deals in a more casual enviroment- one in which income from such an alliance would be a low-cost-barrier-to-entry addition to my bottom line.
A nice little new income stream, not one with the extra added burden of justifiying buying the company I have struck up the alliance with.