Facebook has been working on further integrating Skype beyond simply exchanging contacts like you can right now. So reports that the social network wants to acquire the Internet telephony giant may explain why the next stage of integration seems to be taking longer than the rapid pace that Facebook is known for.
Earlier today, Reuters broke the news that both Facebook and Google have approached Skype with offers, citing two unnamed sources with direct knowledge of the discussions.
Reuters’ unnamed sources said a deal with Skype would carry a value of $3 billion to $4 billion, which compares with an anticipated $1 billion that the telephony giant would raise from an initial public offering.
That IPO is still planned for the second half of this year, but Skype continues to hold discussions about getting funded through possible acquisitions or private investments.
Whether Facebook leads the other companies that seek to own Skype remains a matter of speculation and we know that the leading social network has a policy of not commenting on speculative issues. When this becomes a done deal, everyone will know.
Meanwhile, two telecommunications providers have very leapfrogged ahead of Skype in enabling free voice phone calls initiated from within Facebook: Jajah and T-Mobile both started offering such services in May, surprising many observers who were expecting Skype to do this first.
Of course, Jajah and T-Mobile’s services within Facebook are both so new and Skype’s user base is so large that very possibly the whole game may change if and when Skype does go live with free phone calls within Facebook. Additionally, Skype’s integration into the social network is supposed to include videoconferencing, a service that a handful of other vendors have already been offering, albeit with mixed results.
In the mean time, readers, what do you think the odds are that Facebook might win the bidding for Skype?