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Summary:

Despite the general euphoria about Skype’s retail launch in the US, there are some disturbing developments in the Skype-world that make you wonder about the future of eBay-Skype integration. Andy Abramson, who is supposed to be on vacation in Europe has dug-up information that some Skypers’ […]

Despite the general euphoria about Skype’s retail launch in the US, there are some disturbing developments in the Skype-world that make you wonder about the future of eBay-Skype integration.

Andy Abramson, who is supposed to be on vacation in Europe has dug-up information that some Skypers’ are headed to the exits. For instance, Andy reports, that Pooj Preena, Skype’s biz dev guy based in San Francisco has left the company. He helped craft the deal with Linksys for example. Some employees, especially those in Estonia, as per Andy’s account, did not make anything as a result of the deal. “That two days before the sale to eBay employees were told by (Niklas Zennström) that the he would never sell the company,” Andy writes.

These are classic signs of post-merger blues. However, it is ironic that there has been a steady trickle out of eBay and many departing executives have questioned the wisdom of the deal. The scariest part is not the exodus but the changing culture of Skype. A genuinely maverick company, Skype is facing increasingly hostile telecom operators and governments. Skype, survived and thrived, because when everyone expected them to zig, they zagged. They were small and nimble, and out maneuvered competition and lumbering behemoths. Now they are part of one! I wonder how they will do in an increasingly bureaucratic environment. EBay has already appointed three new VPs or as Andy calls them: “layers of management.”

  1. Two points to make here:

    1. If I worked for a small outfit that hit a jackpot and didn’t get a portion, I would be out too. One of the joys of working for a small emerging company is the risk/reward you take. You should share the reward as well as the risk.

    2. Having had time to comtemplate, I cannot believe EBay paid the monumental amount for Skype. Look what Cisco got for a couple more billion. That’s just one comparison.

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  2. Valuable employees should have bonuses written into their contracts, if they’re expecting something when the company is sold.

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  3. That’s called a VC or partner. Employees of private companies don’t have contracts for the sale of a company. Such payment comes from the heart, not paper.

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  4. [...] Yes, they just were bought by eBay for $4.1 billion, but that doesn’t mean everyone and everything will remain the same at the company. Om Malik is suggesting that there are dark clouds ahead for Skype in his latest post. “Andy Abramson, who is supposed to be on vacation in Europe has dug-up information that some Skypers’ are headed to the exits. For instance, Andy reports, that Pooj Preena, Skype’s biz dev guy based in San Francisco has left the company. He helped craft the deal with Linksys for example. Some employees, especially those in Estonia, as per Andy’s account, did not make anything as a result of the deal. “That two days before the sale to eBay employees were told by (Niklas Zennström) that the he would never sell the company,â€? Andy writes.” [...]

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  5. This report matches what I’m hearing from the company. I’m hearing morale internally is very low. The employees thought they were going to change the world, not be sold.

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  6. According to my reliable sources, Google wanted to buy Skype for $400 million but the latter refused. Ask me, $400 Million was the right price. I think the difference lies in the background of the CEOs. Whitman has a solid sales background. She got carried away and signed the deal at 10 times the premium. Dr Eric, who is one of the first compiler tools writer(lex/yacc) knows how easy it is to develop a VoIP product and doesn’t have to bother about the rock solid Google brandname. eBay Sucks!

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  7. [...] Following my November 22 post on a Skype reorganization being in the works, Andy Abramson posted some more on what he’s been hearing, and then Om Malik and Mark Evans jumped on the story.  My take:  I’ve been through plenty of big company reorgs, and this is probably a lot like one of those.  It can take as long as six months to figure out where all the second order bits are, and what everyone’s new job is.  Unfortunately, with Google breathing down their necks, the Skypers are short on time. [...]

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  8. [...] Mark commenting on my Skype piece commenting on Andy’s reporting, has Jeff Pulver in a tizzy, and he is yelling from his Long Island rooftop – “Enough with the Skype Gossip.” Jeff, want us to gossip about his latest project, Vivox which has received $6 million in funding from Cannan Partners and Grand Banks Capital, and is based on the Free World Dial-Up platform. Business 2.0 blog says “an online dating site can use Vivox to offer instant messaging, VoIP phone calls , and even video chat to its members. Moreover, Vivox can make the calls anonymous.” Okay, Jeff you got it, but now you have to make this the greatest thing since Skype, or no gossip-for-you. [...]

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  9. If you work for a company, you do not automatically get a payout if it is sold. period. You are hired to do a job, nothing else.
    As for “executives leaving”, these are people who were doing a job for not much money, now being snapped up by companies offering large salaries. (thinking these execs have unique talents)

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  10. [...] The ink on the $4.1 billion eBay-Skype deal is almost dry and already competitors are lining up to rain on Skype’s parade. If the regulatory/incumbent problems were not enough, here comes news that Yahoo will soon upgrade its Messenger’s dialout/dial in features to compete with SkypeIn/SkypeOut. [...]

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