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.