According to TechCrunch, a new Google partnership with – or even outright acquisition of – Skype may be announced shortly. There doesn’t seem to be much substance behind the rumour; news.com called it Valley gossip at its finest.
Nevertheless, I think this would make sense. eBay spent a lot of money to get Skype, they took a lot of flack for doing so, and then they left their shiny new toy sitting in its box. For months, eBay sellers were not allowed to add Skype buttons to their listings; it seems eBay’s fears that we might use Skype to cut them out of the selling process took precedence over any desire to make the most of their new acquisition. And even now, with ?? worldwide users and profits of $400m in 2007, it feels like Skype is growing dispite eBay, rather than because of it.
A Skype sold to Google could be integrated with just about every aspect of Google’s services. Imagine Skype click-to-call buttons on every company in a page of Google search results. Imagine Skype buttons for local services on Google Maps. Imagine shared Google Documents which could be automatically imported into a Skype whiteboard and worked on simultaneously across Skype’s network. The possibilities are endless, and more than anything, they’re possibilities that make sense for Skype themselves.
Of course, given the amount of April Fools’ nonsense that TechCrunch posted yesterday, it’s always possible that this is just not true, but its appearance on Seeking Alpha under an April 2nd dateline makes me think that the rumours do at least exist. Mashable had the same rumour as far back as last November, and Silicon Alley Insider and ZDnet seem to think there’s something in it.