Analyst Says Google Voice Could Fill Skype Void
While common sense dictates Skype would have to settle the dispute before the spin-out, eBay has told Reuters and Bloomberg the spin-out plans remain intact. Still, this is the latest in a line of headaches Skype has brought to eBay since it purchased it for $2.6 billion in 2005. In October 2007, eBay took a nearly $1 billion write-down on Skype, which was cheap international calling rates, Skype's revenue grew 25 percent to $170 million in the second quarter, eBay said.While Google Voice doesn't yet offer video calling like Skype, it will likely add it easily, similar to the way Google added video chat to Gmail. Google Voice does offer cheap international calling and could pose a threat to Skype once it begins to assimilate more of the communications features Skype and others offer, Gartner analyst Elroy Jopling told eWEEK July 31. "I think it's an opportunity, but it is a restricted opportunity in that today Google Voice is only in the U.S. and only to a limited number of people that applied," Jopling said. "They're not endeavoring to actively go out and get business at this time. But at the same time, without question if Google Voice begins to roll out and begins to take on a global perspective, it will impact Skype." Still, Google isn't without its own grief with Google Voice. Seemingly fearing Google's service, which duplicates certain iPhone features, Apple has frozen Voice and any instantiation of it out of its iPhone App Store.
While the legal morasses threaten to break down Skype, or at the least put a big hitch in eBay's plans, it may present Google Voice with an opportunity to gain traction. Google Voice funnels calls to users' mobile, home and work phone numbers through one number and is in the process of rolling out to thousands of users.