A report from Reuters today has suggested that Facebook and Google are in talks, separately, with Skype regarding some sort of tie-in.
The report first quotes sources saying Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg himself has been involved in talks about buying Skype but other sources quoted suggest the talks are to do with forming a joint venture. The idea of being able to Skype someone directly from your newsfeed is pretty logical one and the system already works the other way around. In Skype 5.0 for Windows, users are able to view their Facebook newsfeed from within the Skype window and call friends directly. Facebook, which has 600 million active users, would seem like a good fit for Skype which has some 540 million registered users, though only 6 percent of these actually pay for the service. The Reuters’ sources claim that Facebook would be looking at investing between $3 billion and $4 billion in Skype as part of this deal.
Other reports suggest that Google are also in early talks with the video calling service about a tie-in, but this doesn’t quite seem like such a good fit. Google already has voice and video calling embedded within Gmail and if they were planning on expanding that service to a stand-alone application, they wouldn’t really need Skype you would imagine. Last August Skype declared its intention to go public but its initial public offering (IPO) has been delayed though is still on course for the second half of the year. Skype is hoping to raise $100 million in the offering, valuing the Luxembourg-based company at $1 billion.
While this is all speculation at the moment, with none of the parties involved commenting, Skype needs to make some move soon if is going to stay ahead of rivals including the aforementioned Google video calling and Apple’s proprietary Facetime service.