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Skype's Legal Situation Clears 49

Posted by Soulskill
from the everybody-goes-home-happy dept.
chill writes "Skype's co-founders, Janus Friis and Niklas Zennstrom, have agreed to transfer ownership of the remaining Skype technology that eBay didn't own, paving the way for eBay to complete its sale of a majority stake in Skype to an investor consortium. In exchange, Friis and Zennstrom will join the investor consortium and obtain a 14 percent stake in Skype. The other consortium partners, led by Silver Lake, will own a 56 percent stake in Skype, and eBay will hold on to 30 percent, eBay said Friday."
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Skype's Legal Situation Clears

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  • Meg Whitman (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward

    Shouldn't this situation be a huge strike against Meg Whitman's senate run? No one understood why she bought Skype, it never worked out for them, and she didn't even negotiate the sale properly.

    • I don't think it's Meg's fault that the contract lawyers screwed up royally here. You hire lawyers because no mortal is going to be able to tell what is actually transferred. If Meg knew she was buying, well, nothing then I would agree with you that it should count against her - but remember that eBay had to be told what the original owners actually owned.

      Otherwise eBay has not really been run into the ground like other companies have been, I'd say she's done about as well as could be expected apart from

      • Re: (Score:1, Funny)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Yes, eBay has not been run into the ground. It even better than geocities!

      • by something_wicked_thi (918168) on Saturday November 07, 2009 @04:05AM (#30013018)

        What makes you think the contract lawyers were so incompetent so as not to notice something like this? My bet is they knew what was up, told the execs and they continued, anyway. It's possible what you say is true, but if I were to bet on who was dumber - an exec-turned-politician, or a random contract lawyer, well, I know which one my money's on.

    • by herojig (1625143)
      I doubt the majority of the voting public will ever hear about nor understand this issue. Meg Whitman will win because all others in Sacramento have failed miserably, and folks will figure if a superman can't get the job done, hire a superwoman.
  • Wow (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward
    That mess cleaned up much easier than I expected.
  • by Z00L00K (682162) on Saturday November 07, 2009 @03:32AM (#30012904) Homepage

    And that's a generally good idea. The amount of people using Skype is considerable, so just owning and running it should provide a goodwill in the general public for any company that's involved. That doesn't mean that the brand is worth a humongous amount of money, just that it's worth a decent amount of money.

    The bad side with Skype is that it seems to be rather bloated these days occupying a rather large amount of memory in our computers.
    It's the #3 application in memory consumption on my machine. Considering the services it's offering that is a bit high.

    • That, and it consumes a crap-tastic amount of CPU cycles. However, I'm willing to deal with it because the audio quality is superb.

    • by Malc (1751)

      No, the worst bit about Skype is that UI has been eBay-ified. It's becoming a dog to use. No doubt they'll start using different fonts all over the place in the next version...

      The number one memory hog for me is leaky Firefox. Then multiple instances of Visual Studio, Outlook, Adobe Acrobat reader, and a bunch of other stuff before Skype.

    • Re: (Score:1, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      The bad side with Skype is that it seems to be rather bloated these days occupying a rather large amount of memory in our computers. It's the #3 application in memory consumption on my machine. Considering the services it's offering that is a bit high.

      More bad sides: Details on the consortium buying Skype: IQT [iqt.org] (with precedents [wired.com]) Skype already [slashdot.org] comes with back door into your system now. [slashdot.org].
      The question is, what will skype in all its bloated glory be capable of after it is taken off eBays hands? At least eBay had the goal of making money off their investment.
      Open sourcing the Skype linux client [slashdot.org] also benefits IQT, since Linux skype users are such a small fraction of the market getting them on side only helps increase the network effect [wikipedia.org] for the closed source sky

      • by Allicorn (175921)

        back door into your system now

        Irresponsible wording.

        The linked article is about speculation that Skype->Skype calls can be tapped. Since Phone->Phone calls can be tapped just as easily, as can Skype->Phone and Phone->Skype, this would appear to be a non-issue. Unless of course you're a tinfoil-hat-wearing loony who's #1 reason for switching to Skype was so that the gubmint couldn't listen in on your no-doubt fascinating and national-security-implicating calls to your mom.

        The article makes no suggestion whatsoever of Skype be

    • by Drakin020 (980931)

      My recommendation is to find an older version of the application and install that. That's what I've done so far.

      I run version 3.8, and at the moment it's taking up about 16MB of memory (Vista 64-bit)

      I've seen the newer versions, and would stay far away from that.

  • by CarpetShark (865376) on Saturday November 07, 2009 @05:03AM (#30013132)

    For those of us who've been largely ignoring Skype since it's proprietary and there are open alternatives (namely SIP)...

    What's the upshot of all this? Skype announced recently that they're planning to open source stuff. Now the tech is going to be owned by a consortium. Does this mean that skype is moving towards being an open, non-proprietary solution?

    • by tsa (15680) on Saturday November 07, 2009 @05:17AM (#30013160) Homepage

      That is not important. As far as I understand, only parts of the interface will be opened up. The protocul will stay closed, so you can't use in it anything but Skype. I had much rather seen it the other way around. Open protocols and document formats are far more important than open source.

    • by Malc (1751) on Saturday November 07, 2009 @05:35AM (#30013194)

      I haven't found anything that works as well as Skype. SIP is way down the list in performance. Skype could cope like nothing else when I was living in China calling the West, dealing with high latency and packet loss.

      • by whancock (1651145)
        I'm in the same situation that you were, and have not had the same experience. Skype's performance under Windows is absolutely horrendous for me (as well as others I know who are using it). Funnily enough, I'm dual booting and it is markedly better under Ubuntu on the same laptop. Both versions are inferior to Google Chat, which I am happily using now. Unfortunately there is no *nix version yet, but I hear Google is working on it.
        • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday November 07, 2009 @06:50AM (#30013368)

          In case you missed it, the newer versions of Pidgin support voice/video via XMPP/GTalk/etc. http://pidgin.im/ [pidgin.im]

          • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

            by Anonymous Coward

            In case you missed it, the newer versions of Pidgin support voice/video via XMPP/GTalk/etc. http://pidgin.im/ [pidgin.im]

            On every platform but Windows.

          • by felix9x (562120)

            How is Pidgin compare in voice/video quality to Skype?
            Whats the time frame for it to be in Windows?
            Will it be able to do multi-person video conference?

          • by dkf (304284)

            In case you missed it, the newer versions of Pidgin support voice/video via XMPP/GTalk/etc.

            Why would I use that if none of the people I want to call use it? Skype has a massive sitting-incumbent advantage. (No, I have no interest at all in developing VoIP systems; I work on other stuff.)

      • I haven't found anything that works as well as Skype. SIP is way down the list in performance.

        I'll second that. While SIP is in many cases a little cheaper for voice communication than Skype, the other integrated features like instant messaging and SMS make Skype a killer app given its market saturation.

        I know there are alternative and more truly "free" products available that accomplish the same purposes separately, but Skype is the only one to provide an easily usable cross-platform integrated produ
    • by tokul (682258)

      Does this mean that skype is moving towards being an open, non-proprietary solution?

      It is as open as Microsoft Open XML.

      Open Skype is only publicity stunt to silence critics, put software maintenance costs on third party and reduce intentions of moving to other VOIP solution.

      • Re: (Score:1, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        If you believe that then I don't think you've used Skype on Linux. The Linux client is far behind the windows client and only has one developer working on it, by opening up the UI that will allow the community to fix what ebay doesn't want to put the resources towards. By doing this it's a win, win situation:
        1) The community improves the client and gets a better client because of that
        2) Ebay can stop receiving the same complaints from Linuxs users that they receive over and over.

        • by tokul (682258)

          I don't think you've used Skype on Linux.

          My primary workstation runs Linux Debian. With Skype on it. I do know difference between Skype for Linux and Skype for Windows.

          Ebay won't open communication protocols. UI will be limited by closed library which handles communications. Third party developers might fix only their OS issues. They will have to beg ebay for any comm library enhancement.

    • by Smegly (1607157)

      For those of us who've been largely ignoring Skype since it's proprietary and there are open alternatives (namely SIP)...

      What's the upshot of all this? Skype announced recently that they're planning to open source stuff. Now the tech is going to be owned by a consortium. Does this mean that skype is moving towards being an open, non-proprietary solution?

      Your answer was hinted at in one of the posts above [slashdot.org]...

  • by Trepidity (597) <delirium-slashdot@h a c k i sh.org> on Saturday November 07, 2009 @05:06AM (#30013140)

    Bullshit legal controversy created as a negotiating tactic is resolved by negotiations in which everyone gets varying slices of the pie. Shocking!

    The main difficulty I've had in this brief saga is figuring out if there was some way I could root against everyone involved simultaneously.

    • I don't see why you're calling it a BS legal controversy.

      At issue was Skype technology that was licensed to eBay, not sold to them along with the rest of Skype. eBay apparently violated the license, hence this eventual settlement.

      If eBay had been in the right here they'd have been able to make this go away in court, and $385M (14% of Skype) is way too much to pay to make a legal hassle go away rather than paying to fight it, therefore it seems there was a genuine violation here, not just a baseless controve

    • by chill (34294)

      My grandfather used this tactic.

      As a die-hard White Sox fan in Chicago, he would watch Cubs games to root for whomever they were playing. Unless it was a New York team, then he would root for someone to get injured.

      Feel free to simply root for all of the Skype parties to strain or break something important.

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