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Further Details Emerge As Skype & Its Founders Close to Settlement

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There is a good likelihood that Skype; its founders, Niklas Zennstrom and Janus Friis; and a group of private equity investors led by Silver Lake Partners are close to settling their legal disputes, allowing eBay (s EBAY) to sell 65 percent of Skype for about $2 billion. I had first reported the news this past weekend. As part of the settlement, Zennstrom and Friis are likely to get a board representation, and there is some talk of Index Ventures being out of the deal as well.

Zennstrom and Friis have been locked in a bitter dispute over the use of the Global Index, a key technology owned by JoltID, a company jointly controlled by the Skype founders. eBay, in a stunning breach of fiduciary duty, didn’t buy this technology when it acquired Skype four years ago.

From the way it is understood, Zennstrom and Friis will have a board seat on the newly independent Skype, which would be allowed to use JoltID’s technology. In addition, there is a good chance that Index Ventures, one of the primary architects of the buyout, will not be part of the new deal. Mike Volpi, former CEO of Joost, isn’t likely to be part of the new enterprise.

I am not surprised that Index and Volpi have been left out in the cold. There’s no love lost between Skype co-founders and the Index group. If you read through some of the emails that were submitted along with legal documents filed in support of Joost’s case against Volpi and Index, then you know why.

Some details of the story were reported by the New York Times today. Please check out my previous report on the Skype’s legal fracas, as well, which includes a timeline of events.

14 Responses to “Further Details Emerge As Skype & Its Founders Close to Settlement”

  1. Volpi stole IP with the intent to overthrow and buy majority of Skype. When this began I stated here that the Anthill has run amuck. The Anthill was a team inside Joost with Volpi was the lead. That post was over a year ago. I’ve know about this and have been informaing people but not even GigaOM reports the “latest” news or anything I consider close to the “latest”. Even worse over at TechCrunch you have Michael Arrington point blank lying and making up rumors of companies I worked at that were to be acquired by Skype. He got called out on his lies by other news sites because he could not deliver a source. Basically I’m sick of late and possibly faux news. I hope GigaOM stops becoming mainstream and begins being more transparent about their source materials and timeliness.

  2. I skimmed through the attached docs and perhaps missed the wrongdoing on Volpi’s part. I thought all he was aiming for is gunning for a non-P2P architecture. And yes he wanted a deal for himself and didn’t care if Janus/Niklas would be unhappy. Where’s the wrong doing here? Sorry if I missed something obvious. Just curious to know.


    • Seriously? Instead of skimming, read them and you’ll find he’s accused of: 1. Using his access (and understanding) to the Joltid code base to sell his investment group and Ebay on a deal with him. 2) While CEO of Joost, a company that was dying, he spent his time putting together this deal. NOTE: there were reports of Joost trying to sell itself during the same period but a deal never emerged. Think we know why. Where’s the fiduciary responsibility? 3. While Joost CEO he was working with founders to keep a key engineer from going to facebook by offering him more money. *At the same time* he was trying to poach that same engineer for Skype. WTF? 4) Oh, he also insulted everyone in his investor group in his emails, that’s not illegal just stupid.

      But his biggest gaff is thinking he could replace the P2P with SIP, which was the basis of his investment case. As a former Cisco guy, that’s crazy dumb. Looks like his former partners eventually called b.s. on that.

      Or, maybe his biggest gaff was deciding to screw the Skype guys. I guess he didn’t like them, but he made money with them as a skype board member and they gave him a shot at the Joost CEO, which he flubbed. This was his thanks….

      Maybe any one of these things could be explained away, but the stack looks very bad. Think he needs to find another line of work.

  3. Who cares if its old new “to you”? Its not old news to me and the rest of the people here (average public with no insider knowledge of the software community, unlike yourself?) which is probably a part of his overall target audience?

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