This excerpt taken from the EBAY 10-Q filed Jul 28, 2006.
Our business is adversely affected by anything that causes our users to spend less time on their computers, including seasonal factors and national events.
Anything that diverts our users from their customary level of usage of our websites could adversely affect our business. We would therefore be adversely affected by geopolitical events such as war, the threat of war, or terrorist activity, and natural disasters, such as hurricanes or earthquakes. Similarly, our results of operations historically have been seasonal because many of our users reduce their activities on our websites with the onset of good weather during the summer months, and on and around national holidays.
We depend on the continued growth of online commerce and communications.
The business of selling goods over the Internet, particularly through online trading, is dynamic and relatively new. Concerns about fraud, privacy, and other problems may discourage additional consumers from adopting the Internet as a medium of commerce. In countries such as the U.S. and Germany, where our services and online commerce generally have been available for some time and the level of market penetration of our services is high, acquiring new users for our services may be more difficult and costly than it has been in the past. In order to expand our user base, we must appeal to and acquire consumers who historically have used traditional means of commerce to purchase goods. If these consumers prove to be less active than our earlier users, and we are unable to gain efficiencies in our operating costs, including our cost of acquiring new customers, our business could be adversely impacted.
The success of Skype depends on continued growth in its number of users, which in turn depends on wider public acceptance of VoIP. The VoIP communications medium is in its early stages, and it may not develop a broad audience. Potential new users may view VoIP as unattractive relative to traditional telephone services for a number of reasons, including the need to purchase computer headsets, the need to leave a personal computer on in order to communicate with Skype, or the perception that the price advantage for VoIP is insufficient to justify the perceived inconvenience. Potential users may also view more familiar online communication methods, such as e-mail or instant messaging, as sufficient for their communications needs. Managers of some large private branch exchange, or PBX, systems in businesses, universities, government agencies, and other institutions may refuse to allow the use of Skype due to concerns over security, server usage, or for other reasons. If VoIP does not achieve wide public acceptance, our Skype business will be adversely affected.