Dark Clouds over Skype?

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.”

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