12 November 2006
BERLIN: The managers of eBay, the world's largest online auctioneer, had something else in mind in September 2005 when they decided to pay at least $2.6 billion to buy Skype, the pioneer in Internet telephone service then based in Luxembourg.
Back then, eBay's chief executive, Meg Whitman, predicted that the 55 million people who had downloaded Skype's free Internet telephone software would bolster eBay's online auction and PayPal payment businesses, driving sales and profit.
Today, eBay sellers can place a "Skype Me" button next to their items on eBay so that buyers can call and discuss possible sales. EBay is also experimenting with using Skype software to transfer money between PayPal accounts, expanding the payment system to Skype.