Skype, makers of the popular VoIP and video calling client of the same name, has filed for an IPO with the US Security and Exchange Commission. The company is planning to publicly sell stock worth $100 million, which would substantially raise Skype’s liquid capital.
Though the SEC filing mostly only says stuff we all know (it’s a p2p VoIP service, most of its income comes from SkypeOut, etc), it does bring up an interesting point about Skype going forward: Skype depends on partners all over the world in all sorts of fields. This includes governments, ISPs, and telecoms. Any one could make a slight change which would really mess up the company’s bottom line. For example, what if telecoms wanted even just a half of a penny more per Skype call which terminated on its phone lines? The short answer is that Skype’s costs of operations would go up a lot.
This is a particular hot button of an issue given the rumors that Verizon and other wireless providers may move to a prioritized data model, meaning that companies could pay extra to make their materials load faster. Google, which has far more money than Skype, could easily pay to make one of its products work seamlessly as a mobile VoIP client, in which case Skype is effectively out of business.
Knowing what I do, I’d be hard pressed to think of Skype as a good investment right off the bat. If you think different, or the same, we’d love to hear your reasoning in the comments.