Skype's IPO News - What Should Service Providers Do?

That's the title of my latest Service Provider Views column on TMCnet, and it's running now. Skype sure has had an interesting ride coming in and out of eBay, and now this news signals to the world that they're ready for prime time. There's a great growth story here for sure, but for a company with practically no marketing costs, it seems strange that they're not very profitable.

Of course, that can change quickly, even with a modest bump in any of their financial metrics. With such a huge user base, a few upticks in ARPU or conversion rates from free to paid will translate into healthy revenues and even healthier earnings.

Like Facebook, Skype's ultimate value is tied to monetizing their massive communities. This is the new-school build-it-and-they-will-come model, and if they can succeed financially, traditional service providers will have a lot to think about. I'm not alone in wondering if Skype's IPO is too early, or if the $100 million raise will be enough, but this sure sends a message to the telco market that Skype believes they are ready to compete with anybody.