Feeds

eBay scuffles with Skype founders

Dueling lawsuits threaten IPO

The essential guide to IT transformation

eBay's plan to spin off Skype with an initial public offering in 2010 is being threatened by a dispute with the VoIP service's co-founders, who still own a key part of the software.

Bloomberg reports Skype's founders Niklas Zennstrom and Janus Friis have accused eBay of breaching a licensing deal and are threatening to yank the technology, which would disable the popular voice over internet service.

In return, eBay is suing Joltid, the company operated by Skype's founders, in a London court to prevent the shutdown.

The Skype founders apparently retained the service's peer-to-peer sharing technology when they sold to eBay for $2.6bn in 2005. (Which, of course, begs the question why eBay would pay all that money without ensuring they own the entire platform).

The ruckus has some financial experts predicting it could delay the IPO and lower the amount raised. ebay chief John Donahoe reckons Skype is worth more than $2bn — but the prospect of the service being broken when its on the block has investors worried. IP lawsuits may be commonplace in the tech world, but it could scare folks away from the public offering.

If Joltid win the lawsuit, the effect would be "devastating," Skype's attorney Charles Hollander told the court. The service would "exit the market whilst we embark on a lengthy and costly process of developing an alternative form of software code," he said.

Bloomberg speculates that with a potentially damaging lawsuit looming overhead, there's an increased chance eBay could sell to a private investor that's willing to settle rather than hold an IPO. Or eBay could settle with Joltid itself. Either way, it appears the Skype founders have eBay right where they want 'em. ®

Gartner critical capabilities for enterprise endpoint backup

More from The Register

next story
6 Obvious Reasons Why Facebook Will Ban This Article (Thank God)
Clampdown on clickbait ... and El Reg is OK with this
No, thank you. I will not code for the Caliphate
Some assignments, even the Bongster decline must
Barnes & Noble: Swallow a Samsung Nook tablet, please ... pretty please
Novelslab finally on sale with ($199 - $20) price tag
Banking apps: Handy, can grab all your money... and RIDDLED with coding flaws
Yep, that one place you'd hoped you wouldn't find 'em
Video of US journalist 'beheading' pulled from social media
Yanked footage featured British-accented attacker and US journo James Foley
Primetime precrime? Minority Report TV series 'being developed'
I have to know. I have to find out what happened to my life
Netflix swallows yet another bitter pill, inks peering deal with TWC
Net neutrality crusader once again pays up for priority access
Judge nixes HP deal for director amnesty after $8.8bn Autonomy snafu
Lawyers will have to earn their keep the hard way, says court
Ex-IBM CEO John Akers dies at 79
An era disrupted by the advent of the PC
prev story

Whitepapers

Top 10 endpoint backup mistakes
Avoid the ten endpoint backup mistakes to ensure that your critical corporate data is protected and end user productivity is improved.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Backing up distributed data
Eliminating the redundant use of bandwidth and storage capacity and application consolidation in the modern data center.
The essential guide to IT transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIOs automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise
Next gen security for virtualised datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.