Rumor of the Day: Google Wants To Be Next To Try and Make Skype’s Business Work

Rumoursville: Google sniffing round Skype | PDA: The Digital Content Blog | Guardian Unlimited:

It’s been a while since the last juicy web business rumour, so this will do nicely.

Currently in favour around London’s webbist community is the rumour that Google has been in negotiations to buy Skype, the web telephony firm, from eBay.

This makes sense on a number of levels, particularly because it fits with Google’s ambitions for disrupting the mobile industry through its new open mobile phone development platform Android, and for eBay – which was recently forced to admit that it had paid too much for Skype.

Sounds like maybe eBay’s trying to get the billion-dollar Skype buyout plan going again by starting these sorts of rumors, in an attempt to try and make some of its money back. But is there any real value in Skype for Google? The commercial value of Skype’s user base is open to debate, given the company’s difficulty in monetizing it, and Google already has a toe in the VoIP waters with Google Talk.

The justification for the rumored Google interest is the ever-popular “synergy”. But the extent of that synergy seems to be something like “Google has Android, which is for mobile phones… Skype is like a phone thingie… boom, SYNERGY!” There’s this persistent belief that Google can take anything and everything, run ads on it, and magically make money. But when it comes to communications services, that model remains totally unproven.

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