Meg Whitman, former chief executive officer of eBay, defended her decision to buy Skype in a radio interview with KTKZ’s Capitol Hour featuring Eric Hogue. Whitman is running for the office of the Governor of California on a Republican ticket, and is currently leading in the Republican primaries. Here is what she had to say on the show.
Hogue noted that “one of your opponents, Steve Poizner, referred to the fact that it was you as CEO of eBay that spent $2.1 billion on Skype, and that didn’t work, and he’s drawing the comparison here. Is that a fair or unfair comparison here, Meg?” She answered:
You know, we made so many acquisitions at eBay, so many of which were absolutely terrific. PayPal, a lot of our classified sites. And actually I think Skype will prove to be a good acquisition for eBay. You probably read that the company just sold about two-thirds of the interest in Skype to an investor group, kept a portion, and got almost all the money back, and I think Skype will be very effective. So I am very proud of my tenure at eBay. You know we took eBay from 30 individuals, 30 employees to 15,000, from $4.7 million in revenues to nearly $8 billion in revenues. So I’m very proud of the record and proud of the acquisition record.
I commend her for riding the eBay rocket ship, but when it comes to Skype, we all know she blew it. And once again, she dodged the question. How can she defend overlooking and not buying the JoltID technology from Skype co-founders Niklas Zennstrom and Janus Friis? That decision cost eBay another 5 percent of Skype when the auction giant had to settle with the two co-founders.