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9/30/2010
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Skype, Facebook Partnership Would Boost Both Firms

VoIP firm trying to increase revenue-generating opportunities in advance of its IPO.




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It's been nearly two months since Skype announced its planned initial public offering and, while there's been no public movement on the stock offering, the company has been working to beef up its paid businesses. The latest reports -- still unconfirmed by the voice over Internet protocol (VoIP) calling company -- have Skype teaming up with Facebook.

The numbers are mindboggling -- Skype has nearly 600 million registered users and Facebook has more than 500 million users. The two firms share Marc Andreessen as a board member and that could facilitate any partnership between the two companies.

The vast majority of Skype users call each other free-of-charge, and a deal with Facebook would likely bring revenue to both Skype and Facebook. Skype unveiled a beefed up partnership with Avaya Wednesday as the company pushes to expand its business and paid offerings. Revenue-producing partnerships will polish Skype's IPO, which it unveiled in early August.

According to a Wall Street Journal blog this week, Skype and Facebook are preparing to announce a "significant and wide-ranging partnership that will include integration of SMS, voice chat, and Facebook Connect."

A deal between the two firms could have tremendous possibilities. For example, users could send messages from their Facebook app to their friends individually or broadcast to all of them in a single act.

Skype, which was owned by eBay for years, began to generate some revenue by charging about 2.5 cents a minute for its SkypeOut feature. Another service called SkypeIn enables subscribers to pay a small fee to receive Skype calls.

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