Culture

Will eBay have buyer's remorse?

Any time you spend more than $4 billion, it's only natural to experience momentary buyer's remorse. (I'm obviously not speaking from personal experience but hey, I can dream!)

But I've been puzzling ever since eBay decided to break the bank to acquire Skype. The company's paying a pretty penny. There's the original price of $2.6 billion in cash and stock as well as the sundry performance incentives that could add another $1.5 billion if Skype hits certain financial performance metrics.

But did eBay get its money's worth? You only know the answer to these questions years later. Yahoo thought it was getting full value when it paid $5 billion to buy Broadcast.com, perhaps the dumbest deal in the history of the computer business.

Anyway, I use both the free and pay versions of Skype. It usually works fine though it's hardly perfect. Sometimes the latency on the line is unbearable. Other times the person on the other hand says I sound like I'm talking from Jupiter. For all the glitches, I still think Skype offers good value for the price.

But play around some time with the latest instant message audio tools offered by Yahoo, Microsoft, Google and America Online some time. Granted, the person on the other end still needs a computer to communicate with you. But is it so beyond the pale to imagine some will figure out a way to communicate between computers and phones five years from now?