Yahoo! buy or partner with Skype? Ain't gonna happen, and here's why

There's scuttlebutt all over the Blogosphere this morning that Skype may be in merger talks with Yahoo!The talk started on Jean Michel Billaut's blog (it's in French), which well-known Om Malik picked up on his Broadband Blog.

There's scuttlebutt all over the Blogosphere this morning that Skype may be in merger talks with Yahoo!

The talk started on Jean Michel Billaut's blog (it's in French), which well-known Om Malik picked up on his Broadband Blog. Correctly, in my view, Om points out two potential reasons why this is all a puff of smoke:

Skype would be too highly valued and too pricey for Yahoo! to pick up in a defensible ROI model, and:

A purchase of Skype would hurt Yahoo!'s existing relationship with incumbent telephone companies.

I think the second point shows how unlikely such a deal would be. Yahoo! is already partners with SBC in Internet access. So why would they want to pick up an overpriced competing-channel competitor and jeopardize what for them is a stable - if not prestigious- existing relationship?

We bloggers are analytic sorts, so many of my colleagues are speculating on what could happen. Engadget's Barb Dybwad thinks some sort of partnership that would add Skype-enabled VoIP to the Yahoo! Messenger platform is more likely. Tom Keating thinks a similar integration would be plausible.

Given the sensitivities involved, I doubt it. I don't think that SBC would tolerate Yahoo! getting within about four parsecs of Skype. If Yahoo! buys anything to voice-enable Yahoo! Messenger, it will be some sort of third-party plug-in startup.