Pretty big aspiration, to outcompete the two businesses that have consistently demonstrated the power of innovation as the core competitive tool over the past 10 years, and have reaped the rewards by creating and redefining markets and then taking all the gravy. The story of Skype since the company was initially bought by Ebay is enlightening, and shows how it has been done.
Ben Horowitz, a tech entrepreneur and angel investor got into the act by being part of a consortium that bought Skype for just over 2 Billion $18 months ago. They withstood full frontal assaults from both Google and Apple, who both have a habit of winning, and have just announced the on-sale of Skype to Microsoft for 8.5 Billion. Reasonable return.
In Bens blog entry, where he announces the sale, and articulates the short history that netted$ 6.5 billion in the time it takes my local council to consider an application to build a fence, the key to this stunning outcome is in the first sentence in the second last paragraph, where Ben referrs to the quality of the people, and the network effect of existing Skype users as being the key to the success.
The power of an idea whose time has come, coupled with the best of the collaborative and networking tools of the net 2.0, and great customer service.