Not long ago, a story ran around the blogosphere pitching the idea that Apple should take the piles of cash it’s sitting on and use it to revolutionize the banking industry. Sure, “iBank” is an interesting concept but there’s one major rub: Apple knows nothing about banking. Apple is a computer company, a digital service company, a hardware manufacturer, a software company and many other things, but it is by no means a bank. The time, new hires, training and investment it would take to prep Cupertino for a banking entrance negates much of the potential benefit and as such, it won’t happen. The same can be said for an online auction house entering the telco industry – the only problem is the latter example actually happened. When eBay purchased Skype four years ago for $2.6 billion, many wondered what it was thinking. Now, four years later, eBay finally seems to be wondering the same thing… What were we thinking? As a result of some comments made by eBay CEO John Donahoe regarding its recent earnings call, the internet is ablaze once again with rumors that the company is finally looking to offload Skype. Donahoe:
[Skype would make a] great stand-alone busines… The synergies between Skype and the other parts of our portfolio are minimal. We’re going to continue to run and operate the business. It’s not a distraction currently. And at such time when we have further announcements on that, we’ll let you know.
Of course as is always the case with any story citing analyst sources and inference, this is all speculation for the time being. We consider this a feeler from Donahoe; I’ll be taking calls from interested parties, if you will. Bottom line? eBay is an auction house. Paypal – awesome, logical buy. Skype – not so much.