Skype, the internet VOIP phone service, announced that CEO and co-founder Niklas Zennstrom will step down from his role as CEO according to a press release issued by eBay. He will retain his role as chairman. Skype was purchased by eBay in 2005. Shareholders of Skype were to be paid based on an earn-out agreement. This earn-out agreement was based upon specific active user, revenue and gross profit targets that were to be achieved in 2008 and the first half of 2009. Rumor has it that eBay is not happy with the current performance of Skype. One such issue was the Skype outage and the poor handling of that.
Due to lower growth expectations and other factors, eBay has decided to pay out roughly 1/3rd of the earn-out. This equals approximately $530 million. The other co-founder Janus Friis says they are happy with this result in a recent blog post. He says they are excited to move on to new things, including Joost, and their new venture Atomico. Atomico will be a risk capital group where they will invest their own money in new companies. They have already invested in Last.fm, FON, and Technorati.
Personally, I do not think the Skype/eBay picture makes sense. They are two different beasts. What do you think? Do Skype and eBay make a good pair?
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