Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Discussion Throw Back

Well, not to kick the dead horse, but news is stirring in the VoIP world. I’ve discussed in past posts some of the developing technologies in the VoIP world, but to just kick out a couple real fast to get them fresh on the mind, Skype, AIM, Yahoo, DialPad, Teleco, Packet8, Net2Phone, GoogleTalk. All of these are either VoIP active or VoIP bound. As another quick refresh, VoIP stands for Voice Over Internet Protocol. Many of these are owned by major companies. FOr example Teleco is getting purchased by Microsoft, Google is working on GoogleTalk. Well now, the first in the list is going corporate owned but the surprise is by who. Skype, a major player in international communications and VoIP and Cell2Cell communications is being bought by none other than eBay. ( eBay, renowned in the states as the one stop shop for auctions on just about any item now is getting involved into a new communication medium. This is their most expensive purchase to date ranking at above 2 million, PayPal being behind that by about one million. ( Why should we care about this however, it lends to some interesting discussion. Up until this point, online mergers haven’t been of major issue. Microsoft buys some sort of software firm, we learn nothing of it and they just take the technology and make it proprietary. No biggie. Even if they consume Teleco and go VoIP, they won’t have an international marketplace pushing this, they will more than likely just consume it into the products they already offer and no one will use it for fear up upgrading. (Who says newer is better?) However, with eBay buying a communication company like that, what does it mean to the bidders already in the market. Does it become a required tool for effective bidding and selling? Do we get forced into this new money stream just to get the best price? Can an online company such as eBay force a seller or buyer into such a situation? It becomes an interesting complex when they add new tells and possibly integrate them in such a method that we the end user could not live without them, and then are forced into paying for it in the long run. What’s interesting is it’s hard to compare how this will work in eBays company image. We can’t compare past mergers as the consumption of PayPal was done by end-user demand. Users needed an easy, safe, and secure way to pay for items won. eBay tried developing their own system, users didn’t like it and PayPal stuck. The demand was so high, the old system got dropped and eBay bought PayPal to keep users happy. Now No one knows where eBay would be without it as it stands as a corner stone of eBay. Will Skype be the next corner stone? I can’t help but wonder through healthy discourse if this can truly have any benefit for us. I know I don’t want to personally talk to some people i buy from on eBay. A non descript email is enough, however if I were to per-say bid on a car online, id very much like to talk to the owner, grill them for answers to make sure the item is in truly good shape being its costs being so much higher than most on eBay. What do yall think about this merger?


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