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Skype Mobile, Behind the Scenes

Last week when Skype announced that it had seen five million downloads for the Pocket PC platform, I was suitably impressed. Why? Because it showed that there is clearly a demand for a Skype-type solution on the mobile phones. Of course, we all know that the delta between downloads and actual usage is huge.

The news announcement also brought to the forefront issues Skype has had with its mobile clients, or lack there of. Despite promising a Symbian client for a while, the company is yet to deliver on its promises. We know that there are issues that need to be resolved before mobile Skype clients become common place.

Of course, Nitzan Shaer who won’t be losing sleep over it. Skype’s Director of Mobile Devices has left the company for parts unknown. He is the latest pre-eBay Skyper to get out of dodge. Stephanie Bouchet, who used to handle marketing at Skype is gone as well. About a dozen original Skypers have left the company. Looks like eBay-ification of Skype is happening much faster than we originally thought. It would be interesting to see how this shakes out.

15 Responses to “Skype Mobile, Behind the Scenes”

  1. He´s the Vice President, Strategic Partners and Corporate Development and so yes he “worth” a good deal but I know he has some strange inclinations for sure :)

  2. I met this Geoff Prentice fellow in my stay in London out of chance. Who is he exactly? in terms of hierachy in the skype team? Got his card and am curious.. haha :p

  3. Reporting back, I have been using VoIP on my Nokia E60 for the last 75 days. I must say I am the happiest customer ever. I have made 65 hours of mobile VoIP calls using the (( truphone )) client to basically every country on the globe (mobile and landline). My average per minute charge with all the free stuff they are giving away (FREE are global landline calls) was 4.7 pence. WOW!!!! I used to be at 25 pence with my mobile network operator (due to the international and roaming stuff)! What a great saving…(I calculated I will save $6000 per year). This stuff realy works once you manage to install it. VoIP on mobile when in WiFi range is just the best thing happening ever!!! – I tried once to install Skype mobile and it crashed my poor old i-mate SP5 from HTC, the client was just to big… – I am not sure if Skype has it right on Mobile, I doubt it..

  4. I know of a very workable download for Symbian, the company is called (( truphone )), I have the client since 3 months on my Nokia and it has done wonders to my mobile bill. The rates are also cheaper, I believe they offer free calls to all the worlds landlines until the end of the year. I can only recommend it, once you have overcome the installation problems you are in mobile heaven

  5. To be fair, it’s worth a note that, of a company of some 500, there will always be some turnround, especially in fully vested employees. Probably these guys recoeved so little that it doesn’t matter, or they timed out a year after acq,.

    The central team of Friis & Zennstrom + the original development team, and acquisitiion team of geoff prentice,michael jackson jason goodman, plus the central estonian development team remain.

    As far as I can figure out these guys are still about. If you’ld paid 2 billion, wouldn’t you put your folk in ?

    Testament is that the founding team are still around at all.

  6. skype-ebay, behind the scenes

    For Skype-eBay to succeed Meg Whitman needs to replace sr. management team who came from eBay. They are clueless about what needs to be done.

  7. Yer I use skype as an alternative to mobile phones. I used to have a mobile phone until it was put into the washing machine. Now i have a PDA with skype install and i can phone from various placed for free. I like that idea of free calls. More companies should start up and create some competion so I can call to landlines and other mobile devices for free!


  8. You have your numbers wrong. Of the employees working for Skype before the eBay acquisition more than 3 dozend have left including Saul Klein (formerly VP of marketing and now EIP at IndX), Faisal Galeria (formerly Director of BD and now at Fon) and half the business development team, the entire Skype HR department, etc. The character of the company has been changing rapidly. The acquisition by eBAY has turned to be a bear hug: supposed to be warm and cuddly, but in reality squeezing the air out of the lungs, at least in London. Almost all employees who left gave up a significant number of unvested options rather than endure the eBay politics.

  9. Hi Om,

    I wonder how will Skype Mobile compare with services like Jajah Mobile? So far I have good landline experience with Jajah in North America but my one and only one international free call to Hong Kong was just “bad” (to put it very nicely).

    Thanks for a great site and insightful analysis on things,

  10. A good number of early Skypers have left in the past 6 months, most of them cashed out the majority of their options and left for greener pastures. However, one thing to note is that almost all the people who have left are from the London office. Skype’s Tallinn development center, which is the largest Skype office, has done an amazing job finding and retaining talent and also done a lot to insulate itself from a lot of the politics that the eBay purchase brought.