Skype is probably the best known “internet telephone company” and users can make free Skype-to-Skype calls. Paid for calls to mobiles or landlines can also be made.
$100 million however is a significant figure and the filing documents submitted on Monday show that in 4 of the last 5 years the company lost money. In addition, the proportion of Skype’s customers that use the paid for services is also relatively small (8 million out of total registered Skype accounts of 560 million) so arguably there’s a real risk that it may be a significant time before the company is well into profit making territory.
The IPO submission documents must also show any identified risks and there is an interesting one present with Skype.
If you look at page 30 of the IPO submission document it was revealed that BSkyB, the owner of Sky TV in the UK, is in a long running dispute with Skype over the use of various trademarks. There is a view that Sky and Skype could be confusing for certain individuals especially given that BSkyB are promoting their telephone services alongside their Sky TV services.
Of course, free phone calls are one thing but if Skype ever started showing free television programmes then that’s when things would get really exciting.