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Techscape: Skype beyond the hype

Whitman's future just got dimmer

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Comment So Skype got itself sold.

Is this a good thing for the Tech Sector?

Not likely.

Far from joining the throngs lionizing Meg Whitman, I don’t think she’s going to live up to expectations and if she doesn’t, watch out. Her idea to “monetize” Skype by using them as telephonic spam sounds positively insane, not to mention illegal and detrimental to the internet in general, so I like her chances less and less.

eBay’s not a bad little business. I say with tongue planted firmly in cheek while holding out the distinct possibility that all is not well there. Being a convicted Contrarian, I don't subscribe to conventional wisdom of any kind. My editor characterizes the above statement and my cynicism as "absurd" and admonishes me that it is a "huge, enormously successful business" and that "the consensus is that it is exceptionally well-run." He also wants me to acknowledge the "success" eBay's had with PayPal and admit that they may produce the same "magic" with Skype. I think the jury's still out on that, so with all due respect that is bollocks.

After all, we have witnessed the glowing press and corporate admiration for Enron as near-to-death as a few weeks, days even. And what of Worldcom? And Global Crossing? These massive ethical implosions were shocking with their speed of delivery and the Tech sector has worse ethics, in my opinion, than the rest of the corporate world. No, I could well be wrong. But I certainly have the right to say what I think. Fact is, nobody would bat an eyelash if these web giants crashed and burned So, I repeat: eBay's not a bad little business - but it is unproven, we don't know what the hell's going on behind the scenes. The fact that it has a ridiculously high market cap or stock price doesn't mean it'll have the longevity of a General Electric or even Microsoft.

Problem is, their best customers, you know the ones that are always online bargaining, selling and buying claiming this is their “new business” seem like such sad little people devoid of a life. This is only my opinion, so if you consider yourself one of these people, don’t get your bowels in an uproar. In my estimation, eBay will never get the elite as regular customers and this will leave a glaring gap in their growth plans.

I did get a great deal on a leather couch there and would probably go back if the occasion arose, but am unlikely to spend much time overall on the eBay site. It drives me crazy, like Ikea, you know?

And, pulling a Google like this where they rush headlong into the moral equivalent of paid placement for search results will alienate their current forlorn customers and maybe new potential customers away en masse.

Let me see if I understand this, their new devious strategy is to sell their customer information to all manner of crass midnight and bedroom operators at $2 to $12 per lead, I mean invasion of privacy. Oh, that’s a good idea. I don’t know about you but I definitely don’t want any of my vendors/suppliers to pass on my details to anyone. This just does not sound like a sensible strategy.

Nope, eBay will screw this one up badly.

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