When eBay announced back in September, 2005 that it was paying some $2.6 billion to buy Skype, I got it. Lots of "SkypeMe" buttons next to eBay adverts! Yes, I saw the same slides eBay CEO Meg Whitman showed eBay stakeholders.
But more than a year later, I have to agree with Kevin J. O'Brien of the International Herald Tribune. Where's the Return on Investment?
Certainly not in terms of eBay auctions that might not have gone down but for the Skype button.
Certainly not in terms of the $195 million in outbound and inbound Skype calling fees and related services projected for 2006.
As Kevin notes, that number is indeed three times the estimated $65 million garnered by these fees in 2005. Yet via competition, perceptions of quality and/or by a free worldwide call-out model Skype may need to adapt to stay competiitive- it is easy to see how these annual fee-income increases may start to flatten out.
Do the math. The ROI tipping point will take several years.