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Could the world's favorite Internet phone service Skype become disconnected and what does that mean for the thousands of small businesses and entrepreneurs who rely on it every day?
A PC Mag columnist raised the alarm this week, speculating that Skype could be the next victim of Microsoft's strategy of buying and leaving companies for dead, following the firm's $6.3 billion squandered on aQuantitive.
So what would happen if this incredibly popular Internet phone service folds and why would Microsoft seemingly burn the $8.5 billion it splurged on Skype?
One projection put the estimated expense per Skype user at $30 for Microsoft, which for most small businesses is actually a pretty low number and an interesting way to look at lead generation. So however many billion it was would not be lost. However, this is an important lesson for entrepreneurs that they do need to focus more on list building in order to build equity and value in their businesses. In fact they could get bought out for billions on the strength of their user base alone.
On the other hand, Skype does have its share of dislikes. Phone companies would no doubt love to hunt down its founders for destroying their revenues. It is also difficult for companies to track down callers' whereabouts, which is no doubt one of the great reasons to use it. In fact, Skype is flat out illegal in some countries and usage comes with some pretty stiff consequences if found out.
If Skype does get abandoned it could be acquired on the cheap by someone else, perhaps Facebook or Google, or even be taken over by the original owners, which could be a great thing for keeping it relevant.
Fortunately, no entrepreneur reading this should have too much to worry about as being armed with your own toll free number which can easily be re-routed to any phone in a hurry means never being at the mercy of another phone company again.