Skype & social media - a bad idea?

It comes as no surprise to me that the guru duo of Niklas Zennstrom and Janus Friis want Skype back.

For the longest time, I never understood what motivated eBay to purchase Skype from the two. Ebay had a vested interest in Paypal, since that synergy between online payment processing and online auctions/purchases seems almost perfect. But it's seems to me that ever since the acquisition of Skype in 2005 for $2.5 billion in cash seems almost an exercise in futility.

Why would eBay have purchased Skype in the first place? The idea was, in part, a way to allow buyers to connect with sellers on a new level, since that is the first point of contention with a buyer (not being able to ask questions of the seller). But the implementation was never there. There was no synergy between the services like there is with Paypal.

Skype has a very value-added service and is a benefit to the purchaser, as long as they're the right buyer. The trick is, of course, to find the right buyer. I venture to say that social media networks (a la Facebook, Twitter) might be the right buyers to take the company in the right direction. After all, Skype is very Web 2.0 with is feature-rich interface and now, with being ported to the iPhone and iPod Touch. If the original buyers cannot acquire their former brand back (and I do not anticipate that happening), social media networks should take a close look at this valuable asset to build increased value for their existing brand.

Don't think this is feasible? Take for example the revenue that Skype brings in. Think of the revenue that Skype pulls in and apply it to a revenue-needy social networking firm, such as Twitter. Twitter has been lacking a sustainable revenue model for some time and it could pull in much needed cash to increase capacity in the area of servers and bandwidth. Anyone who's used the web client will know what I'm talking about when I say Fail Whale. :-)

Anyway, the above is just a theory that is being used to illustrate the fact that Skype is viable asset in today's digital economy. Not to mention that Skype has room to expand in the realm of enterprise telephony. They do great strides for small businesses, as I should know. I run my podcasts and business phone systems and voicemail from Skype and I rely on them daily to put some value back into my operations.

That being said, this is a wonderful opportunity to get Twitter involved. Twitter owes it's success, at least in part, to the fact that businesses of all sizes are using it to evangelize their products, bring customer services into the home and build their brands up. This would be a wonderful tie in to offer as a package for business media down the line – business-class Twitter offering special features of Twitter for enterprise clients along with enterprise-class telephony service for one low price.

Sounds far fetched? Not so fast. Google was once as small as Twitter and look at the what the benefits of branding and increased features have done for them. Not to mention the as-yet-to-be-determined success of Grand Central.

In the digital age, anything is possible. I say that social media needs to take a look at this new way of connecting or suffer the effects of the dot.com bubble all over again.

With the dangers of this economy, can anyone afford to think inside the box anymore?