Ruminations on the electronics industry from David Manners, Senior Components Editor on Electronics Weekly.
Can Skype Survive Private Equity?
Oh Dear. Skype looks as if it is going to be no more. For many of us, Skype was an absolute saving grace when abroad. It meant you could phone home without having to pay the outrageous roaming charges of wireless network operators or the equally outrageous surcharges imposed by hotels.
For families with family members living far away, Skype was a great boon and solace – allowing connections with children and grandchildren which just wouldn’t be possible otherwise unless you’re as rich as Croesus.
Now I hope I’m totally wrong about this, but I bet the new owners of Skype, the private equity company Silver Lake, aren’t going to stick to the existing price structure i.e. buckshee for Skype-to-Skype calls, a few pennies a minute for Skype-to-Non-Skype calls.
Silver Lake have paid $2 billion for a 65% stake in Skype. These financial gurus have valued Skype at $2.75 billion. What can they be thnking of?.
It’s a pound to a penny they’ll start putting up the rates and kill off this hugely valuable social service.
There was a revolutionary altruism about Skype, an air of making the world a better place. Google had the same air before it put a lot of conventional businessmen on its board and became just another corporate.
OK, companies, businessmen and profits are necessary, but there’s still a place for revolutionary altruism.
TOMORROW MORNING: The Ten Best Camcorder ManufacturersTags: boon, financial gurus, google, roaming charges, saving grace