Who's the Best Partner for Skype: Facebook or Google?

Both tech giants are in talks with the video chat service

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Skype is a hot item! The video chat service is fielding separate acquisition offers from Facebook and Google, Reuters reports. It's not clear which behemoth Skype would prefer selling to but the offers being thrown around are as high as $4 billion. Other sources say a Skype IPO could generate $1 billion, a prospect that is "still in the cards" for the second half of 2011. Which company would benefit most from a Skype acquisition? The pundits are torn:

Facebook has the most to gain "It would give Facebook an immediate way to add voice and video conferencing to the pretty lame Messages feature it introduced last year, and would prevent third parties like T-Mobile and Vivox from filling this niche," writes Matt Rosoff at Business Insider. Adam Rosenberg at Digital Trends agrees. "The key area of crossover between the two companies is their large user bases; each offers services that the other lacks (for the most part), and so a melding of the two would bolster both."

Google has the most to gain "Facebook-Skype would be compelling, but not necessarily to potential corporate customers," writes Larry Dignan. "Enter Google. Google and Skype look very compelling on many fronts. And one of those big fronts would be the enterprise. Skype integration with Google Apps could be compelling. Skype built in natively with Android would be interesting. And Google is likely to leverage Skype’s business chops. If Skype were to stick with its plan to target businesses Google is the clear choice. If that enterprise play isn’t panning out then perhaps Facebook—and its likely IPO—looks better."

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This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.