Skype and MySpace are partnering to allow MySpace members to use Skype as a communications tool on their MySpace profile. MySpace has 120 million members across 20 countries. The partnership will allow MySpace members who are also Skype subscribers to insert a Skype button/widget in their MySpace profile, providing VoIP connectivity. PC-to-PC calling will be free, but MySpace will introduce a number of revenue generating “premium” features such as personal phone numbers, voice mail, call forwarding, and PC-to-landline/wireless calling. Terms of the partnership have MySpace and Skype sharing revenue.
This partnership illustrates the growing influence of web 2.0 on traditional telecom. Web 2.0 applications further erode the usefulness of traditional landline telephony, especially among youth. As more and more subscribers utilize web applications for social networking and entertainment consumption, their desire to incorporate communications functionality into those experiences increases significantly. This MySpace/Skype partnership is a perfect example of that. While it’s too early to tell the impact of this announcement (execution of these partnerships is always a wildcard), it does shed light on the possibilities that Web 2.0 offers telecom. It challenges traditional telecom carriers to recognize that their business is evolving – and quickly. Sure, we always talk about this evolution on conference panels and webinars, but here is proof positive. Traditional carriers should recognize that Skype, and companies like them, including Jajah, don’t have to be the only Web 2.0 players. Couldn’t this partnership announcement just as easily have been between MySpace and Verizon? Maybe, maybe not – it all depends on your perspective. Seems to me, Verizon’s 60 million+ wireless subscribers (not to mention their partner Vodaphone’s global reach) would add tremendous value to this proposition. One thing is certain. As mass markets become more Web 2.0 savvy, telecom carriers will need to be proactive to ensure they don’t entirely lose this opportunity to Skype and others.