Will eBay shut down Skype ?

by Jeff Wiener on August 3, 2009



Here’s an interesting one – eBay announced some time ago that they wanted to spin off Skype into a separate publicly traded company, but now it looks like the initial Skype founders are threatening to take back some of the patents and technology, which ultimately, could force Skype to shut down their service.

The initial Skype founders have formed a new company called Joltid Ltd which apparently owns some of the Skype technology.   Joltid claims that Skype doesn’t have the right to use all of the back end code that allows Skype to operate.  eBay is now suing Joltid for rights to the technology, and is now contemplating a re-write, according to Bloomberg, of those apps within Skype.  Problem is, “The new software will be expensive and might not work,” according to the Bloomberg article. “The company said it might have to shut down Skype if the dispute with the founders isn’t resolved.”

eBay paid $2.6Billion for Skype in 2005.  My question is – what did they pay $2.6Billion for if ultimately, 4 years later, they are in this dilemma ?  How could they put themselves, and their shareholders at such risk.   They left the core of some of the Skype technology in the initial founders control who 4 years later form a new company and hold eBay hostage.  Hmmm … seems like a major blunder.
[cb type=”company”]Skype[/cb]

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Andrew August 4, 2009 at 9:30 pm

Now you know why Meg Whitman is no longer the CEO of eBay 😉

Joltid is not a new company, they have a long history in P2P network design, powering Grokster, Kazaa, and others through the years. Owned by Niklas Zennstrom the co-founder of Skype, Joltid leased the software to Skype.

eBay paid 2.6B for a GUI and the users, not the core IP.

Grab your popcorn, this one will be fun to watch.

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