EBay is acquiring the world’s biggest voice over IP operator for up to $4.1bn (£2.41bn) to improve connectivity between buyers and sellers on its network.
EBay is buying Luxembourg-based Skype for an initial $2.6bn in cash and shares, and has pledged to add up to another $1.5bn if financial targets are met.
As well as continuing to sell Skype phone services, which allow users to make free or cheaper calls over the internet, eBay plans to use Skype’s VoIP software and network to link eBay merchants to sellers to improve the e-commerce experience offered to users.
Skype already has around 54 million subscribers around the world. Skype users can talk to others for free over the internet using a computer-to-computer phoning system.
The same principle could be used on eBay by including a Skype communications button on merchant sites, which would enable Skype-enabled consumers to automatically contact the merchant with sales queries for free.