Microsoft’s next step after its acquisition of Skype could be to make use of common connections. Prior to this announcement, Skype and Facebook had one common denominator; Marc Andreesen.
Now, there are two. Andreessen’s venture capital firm, Andreessen Horowitz, was the lead firm in the buyout of Skype from eBay together with Silver Lake Partners. Andreesen also holds a position on the Facebook board of directors, and it’s been reported numerous times in the past that he has a close relationship with Mark Zuckerberg and serves as a close advisor to the young CEO and founder.
Now, with Microsoft owning Skype as well as having an equity stake in Facebook, chances are greater than ever before that we’ll see Skype being integrated with Facebook’s chat feature in the not too distant future.
Of about 600 million registered Skype accounts, 124 million are active on a month-to-month basis. Out of those, only eight million pay for the premium service.
With that in mind, it’s safe to say that from an increased revenue perspective, a boost in conversion of existing freemium users and an increase in ARPU (Average Revenue Per User) is something that Skype truly is in great need of.
An integration with Facebook Chat could very well be the direction Microsoft will steer the VoIP giant to boost the use of Skype’s paid service; SkypeOut. SkypeOut allows consumers to make phone calls to anyone with a PSTN (public switched telephone network) phone or mobile device , and not just a Skype softphone user. There is an opportunity here for users to pay for SkypeOut using Facebook Credits.