For eBay, Is It Skype -- or Jajah?

Posted by: Olga Kharif on October 2, 2007

Yesterday, eBay recorded a huge, $1.4 billion impairment charge related to its Web-calling subsidiary, Skype, to indicate that that business is no longer worth anywhere near $2.6 billion the auction giant paid for it back in 2005. While Skype is profitable, it’s clear that eBay hasn’t been able to turn Skype into the money-making machine it hoped for.

One other announcement caught my eye, and it makes me wonder if eBay remains committed to Skype: Yesterday, eBay began allowing sellers to embed Jajah buttons into its site (check out this page for an example). By pressing this button on the Web page, buyers can call sellers directly from their PCs.

Yes, Jajah is a direct competitor of Skype’s; it also happens to brag some of the same early investors. And it offers several functionalities which eBay hasn’t encouraged Skype to develop: For instance, buyers don’t have to register with Jajah to call sellers. Skype requires registration and, typically, a software download.

To my mind, this deal indicates that eBay is no longer committed to Skype, though eBay claims otherwise. I wouldn’t be surprised if Skype finds itself on the auction block before long.

Reader Comments

Josh Morgan

October 3, 2007 3:25 PM

Kind of reminds me of the BillPoint/PayPal cycle with eBay. They bought BillPoint but the community chose PayPal so they bought that too.

Is that where they may be going with Skype/Jajah?

Disclosure - in the past I have done PR for BillPoint, Skype and eBay (but don't now)

Megan

October 3, 2007 3:49 PM

Jaxtr has been providing a free "Call me" widget for over 6 months now...and unlike Jajah's button, it is free for everyone to use, whether or not they are a jaxtr user. Jaxtr's blog explains the differences well: http://jaxtr.blogspot.com/

Dan York

October 4, 2007 3:12 PM

FYI, eBay is now blocking Jajah's Buttons:

http://www.redherring.com/Home/22924

Jim Courtney

October 4, 2007 5:24 PM

Seems like your story above is in direct conflict with one on Red Herrring reporting that eBay is removing links to Jajah. http://www.redherring.com/Home/22924.

DC

October 5, 2007 12:29 PM

Click to Call has been available for ebay listings for over 4 years now from thinkingVOICE. We abandoned this market when we realized that most ebay sellers are not interested in speaking. Our application even would pass data to the seller letting them know what items received calls, or even what the current caller was looking at when they clicked to call. Jajah and Jaxtr are late comers/ well funded/ me too companies.

tropicaljantie

October 13, 2007 9:47 PM

maybe Ebay did not like the CEO of Skype to
be busy so much with www.joost.com ?

Yifei

April 4, 2008 5:21 AM

i found something even better - www.oneglobe.gotmyplan.com

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Bloomberg Businessweek writers Peter Burrows, Cliff Edwards, Olga Kharif, Aaron Ricadela, and Douglas MacMillan, dig behind the headlines to analyze what’s really happening throughout the world of technology. Tech Beat covers everything from tech bellwethers like Apple, Google, and Intel and emerging new leaders such as Facebook to new technologies, trends, and controversies.

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