Facebook-Skype Wedding Bells?

In a report from Reuters, it seems "Facebook and Google are separately considering a tie-up with Skype after the web video conferencing service delayed its initial public offering, two sources with direct knowledge of the discussions told Reuters."

The article states that Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook has been re-initiated discussions about a potential partnership or an outright purchase offer for the Luxembourg-based company, Skype.

As we reported in this blog post on March 8th, 2010, discussions between Facebook and Skype began back in September 2010. A Skype deal is expected to be valued between $3 billion to $4 billion, while Skype’s Initial Public Offering (IPO) is expected to raise about $1 billion. In August 2010, Skype filed a registration statement to go public, but the October 2010 appointment of a new CEO, Tony Bates, delayed the IPO till the second half of 2011.

In October 2010, Skype released Skype 5.0 that offered voice calling between friends but did not include a video chat feature. The integration was one-sided in that only Skype added some Facebook features to its client. It was speculated at that time that Facebook declined to offer any VoIP services since it would begin competing directly with other VoIP services that offer video calling such as Google Gmail and Apple’s FaceTime.

Google’s GoogleTalk service has offered the ability to video chat and VoIP calling for several months and is able to offer an all-inclusive package that offer email, voice & video chat, phone calling from a trusted source all for free. With the popularity of Skype waning and Facebook users demanding these features, it seems that Facebook and Skype are desperately trying to move forward to offer a more robust service.

Unfortunately it may be too little too late, as the Skype service may not be up to the challenge of offering a fully integrated service to the multitudes of Facebook and Skype subscribers. It is evident in the call-quality that the newer service (Google Talk) utilizes an up-to-date, better, technology. Skype will have a difficult time replacing the outdated and obsolete technologies currently used in their infrastructure in order to compete with GoogleTalk.

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