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eBay says it may have to shut down Skype due to a licensing dispute with the founders of the internet telephony service.
Besides that, it baffles me that a company like Ebay agreed in 2005 to pay US$ 2,600,000,000 (yes, that's a lot of digits) for the system without obtaining the core of the program, just a revocable license.
"Our plans to separate Skype have not changed," the company said in a statement. EBay said it would not comment beyond a regulatory filing it made on Wednesday.
EBay wrote in the quarterly filing that it recognized that pending litigation over the technology behind Skype could ultimately have an "adverse result," so it had begun to develop alternative software to the technology it licenses from Joltid Ltd for Skype.
"Skype has begun to develop alternative software to that licensed through Joltid. However, such software development may not be successful, may result in loss of functionality or customers even if successful, and will in any event be expensive," eBay said.
I don't think either will happen though. This smells like a test of wills between the founders and Ebay over whether Skype goes IPO or gets sold back to the founders at a significant discount.
Telephony is in a really interesting place right now. You can carve out a good business using VOIP and PSTNs together, but that could all get wiped out in 5 years time if mobiles start running voice through wifi/wimax/whatever.
Incompetence in the eBay camp seems to be rearing its ugly head everywhere these days too, their affiliates scream that ebay can't even get their reporting right for any length of time. Perhaps its time to stop talking and review the level of accountability within their own leadership.