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Sitemap Aug-Archive-05 Who will buy Skype? Yahoo!? or Google? or Rupert Murdoch?

Who will buy Skype? Yahoo!? or Google? or Rupert Murdoch?  

Rumors of a Skype valuation of $3bn Rupert Murdoch's New International from columnist Bob Cringeley, dismissed by another columnist Simon Edhouse of Virtusoft - but is Skype a valuable commodity, then?

The question has hidden answers, because most of the people who are likely to be interested in Skype are not yet showing their hands in the marketplace. However, it is too early to tell, what is going on, but there seems to be rumors floating that Skype and Yahoo are in close contact, and perhaps cooking up a commercial partnership.

Specifically, two companies have leaked drips of information about their telephony plans: Google and Yahoo! are both known to be planning a complete package.

In the case of Google, nothing has been confirmed, but advertisements have been seen for the sort of people who are needed to manage a combined wireline, gateway, mobile and wireless IP phone network. And in the case of Yahoo! even less has been published, but again, preparations have been apparent from hiring’s of staff and purchases of equipment.

Both companies would be crucially handicapped if the other bought Skype, and really, the only reason either might fail to buy the peer-to-peer phone network, would be either that they came second in the race, or that Skype really didn't want to sell.

What is Skype worth? Cringeley says Murdoch offered $3bn; there's no validation of this news. Draper, apparently, thinks $3bn is peanuts, and is thinking more in terms of $100bn - hard to relate, in accounting terms, to any sort of projected revenue Skype might ever make. The analysis is all based on the assumption that Skype faces no rivals, no technical challenges. This is almost certainly wide of the mark.

In terms of rivals, Microsoft's MSN is already close to achieving a profile with its MSN Messenger which has good credibility as a telephony provider; Yahoo's instant messenger service is less credible as a voice carrier, but that will all change before the end of this year, when it unveils its plans in mobile and VoIP telephony.

So, if Cringeley's rumour is right, then the next two weeks will show how optimistic Skype founder Niklas Zennström is. If he sells out before September, we can deduce he's not sure about being able to solve the technical challenge. If he hangs on, we can suspect he's got it cracked.

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