Even though Skype is not a startup anymore, I believe there is a great story behind this news item. Wall Street Journal has written about Skype, how they are under pressure from eBay stockholders to create more revenue or be sold off. Reports show that Skype has hit 400 million users and has created some $145 million in revenues during the first quarter of 2009.
Sten Tamkivi told us in Tallinn this January that they have seen a rise in Skype usage as the recession hit the finance markets. Seems the figures support this strongly. Even though Skype has been built as a consumer product they are under pressure to create more revenue for their owners. One of the new areas they are targeting is the business communication industry as well as moving into the territory of other Nordic VoIP companies such as Rebtel.
Skype’s revenue has grown immensely in the last years and is a multimillion dollar business in itself, but more is required. Some analysts according to the WSJ state that market Skype is in, can be measured up to $200 billion dollars.
What Skype is now aiming at is the capitalisation of the business industry through regular phone networks. Corporate employees would be able to call others through regular phones and the calls would be transmitted by Skype. WSJ expects the company to charge about 2.1c per minute for the calls. The only question remains as the world is slowly moving to mobile phones – how long will this window of opportunity be open for?
Nevertheless, my point being here is that while many startups feel that the end of the road is usually the successful IPO or merger, it usually is just a start of another road. This also raises an interesting question regarding companies that have been bought out in the last few years. Not that many new owners have been able to capitalise their investments in a successful way. Just a few days ago Last.fm, now a CBS property, announced that it would begin charging €3 monthly for the radio feature outside UK, US and Germany. CBS needs to find some ROI for that $280 million investment a while back.