Facebook + Skype: A Billion Members Strong?

Voice and video giants said to be shopping for rings

By Scott Budman
|  Wednesday, Sep 29, 2010  |  Updated 11:10 AM PDT
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Skype & Facebook: Soon to be friends?

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We may soon see a future where you don't just stalk your friends, you can see them too.

The website All Things Digital is reporting that Facebook will soon be friending video-chat service Skype in a big way. Each service boasts a half a billion users. Together, they could soon be on a McDonald's-like path to the number of customers served. 

The deal, if it comes to fruition, makes sense in a lot of ways. Remember when eBay bought Skype? The goal there was to make transactions more face-to-face. It didn't work for online auctions (and Skype was spun off), but it could really work for online social networking. People who now settle for, say, Google video chat, could soon be Skyping while on Facebook -- and we know they're going to be on Facebook in the first place anyway.

Business-wise, this could get interesting, as well. Skype has been talking about taking itself public, since getting its freedom back from eBay. Facebook has been far more coy about a future stock offering, but maybe the powers that be at Skype could push Zuckerberg & company over the IPO edge.

As for revenue-generating potential, Facebook has proven to be top-notch, but for Skype it's been more of a challenge. There's a lot of video chat competition out there (yes, we're talking about you, Apple Face Time), and people are already used to getting these services for (basically) free.

But a Facebook/Skype combination likely has users, both consumer and business, excited about the possibilities. Nothing, we're told, is set in stone yet, but it makes a lot of sense. And in the fast-moving tech world, that often leads to deals.

Does this make sense to you?  Let Scott know on Twitter:  @scottbudman

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