Skype CEO for Nobel Prize?


niklas skypeThe industry specific trade shows, if you have attended one, are a love fest of the worst kind. Back slapping, plastered smiles and of course the bonhomie which ends the minute you walk out of the show floor. But since we are all grown up, we play the game, have a nice glass of wine and go home. End of story. So why am I bringing this up? Well things went a little over the top at VON Europe. One of my spies recounted the keynote speech by Mr. VoIP, Jeff Pulver. While extolling the virtues of VoIP (all right) Jeff went off on a tangent and said that Skype CEO and co-founder Niklas Zennström (and his team) along with Henning Schulzrinne and Jonathan Christensen (Godfathers of SIP) should be nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize.

Why? because helping people communicate better is a good way to end war. Apparently a number of Europeans were tittering at this point. Pulver suggested that the attendees use any contacts they might have with the organizing committee to make this happen. Of course Jeff did not realize that the even was in Sweden, and Noble prize is given out by the Norwegians, and never shall the twain meet and all.

Now that’s a noble thought (pun unintended!) Just a tad naive. Or so I think! After all phone has been around for a while, and thanks to high tariffs the communication has been difficult. Never mind that Skype is cheap way to communicate if you can afford to spend a few hundred dollars (or life time of earnings for someone in the developing world) on a computer type device, and then spend atleast a $20 on broadband (a month of wages perhaps in developing nations.) I know Jeff meant well… but still … to think of these gentlemen in the same vein as Gandhi, Mother Teresa, Desmond Tutu, Nelson Mandela… well I guess it was a trade show. As someone wagged, these comments are a good measure of how close this bubble is to bursting and you can see that in the swollen egos
in the industry. Fifteen minutes, shall we say?


Mary Spaeth

We’re pretty proud of Skype and its technology foundation here in Sweden! A Nobel Prize could be well worth consideration. I think that Lech Walesa is and has been certainly a strong proponent for the values of peace and change through electronic communication.


Now this takes the proverbial cake…deriding someone who espouses the idea that improving communications technology can lead to peace in our time. Naive or not — and who cares? — it takes tremendous heart and a heckuva lot of guts to stand in front of an audience (even one comprised of fellow love-festing backslappers with plastered smiles on their wine-tasting bonhomous faces…yes, Om, I AM making fun of you) and talk about rewarding people whose contributions to greater society could lead to a more harmonious existence.

I hate to fall into platitudes, but…well, even the longest journey starts with a single step. Insulting Pulver for suggesting that technology pioneers be considered for recognition from the Nobel Committee, whether they are located in Sweden, Norway, or Phuket (again…who cares?) is childish and just plain mean. Not only that, but it reeks of cowardice and small-mindedness.

‘Nuff said.

Vincent Valentine

Isnt Skype part of the Kazaa group?

Infecting computers with dodgy spyware, illegal porn, 10 second mp3s, etc

Still Skype is great…

Om Malik

but bald eagle would you give them a noble peace prize for it? not sure about that….:-)

Bald Eagle

I just signed up with Skype the other day. I must admit I like it. I can’s wait for them to integrate video conferencing into it.

Om Malik

Yo I just reported via what my spies were telling me. anyway i think it is one of those things. where one error begets another…


Also the name of the second Godfather of SIP is Rosenberg, I think.

In any event, since all the buzz is about IP Communications, shouldn’t we consider the Godfathers of Internet. Now we can start to quibble about who are the real fathers of IP. ( link )


Probably not in the same vein as MT,DT and NM. How about kissinger and Le Duc Tho. If they had Skype/SIP then they would not have wasted time on negotiating the shape of the table and peace wiuld have come that much faster.

Om Malik

Good point guys about gandhi. especially crummy for me since i am an indian and should know better


Gandhi never won the Nobel Peace Prize – for his ‘fans’, this was probably a good thing as they felt he transcended it. He was considered multiple times though.

Om Malik

I think Jeff means well. I am not sure if FWD had a chance. It has had what shall i say teething problems which never let it grow. It should have been put in open source and would have made things more interesting.


Ironic that Jeff Pulver has become such a Skype sicophant, when only a few months ago he spent considerable effort deriding it. BTW, whatever happened to FWD (Free world Dialup)? That thing had promise, but because of Pulver’s ineptitude it fell by the sidelines. I lost all respect for the guy…

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