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Skype's Legal Situation Clears

Soulskill posted more than 4 years ago | from the everybody-goes-home-happy dept.

Businesses 49

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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Meg Whitman (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30012876)

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.

Re:Meg Whitman (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30012888)

eBay should be lucky that the post-industrial politically correct American society easily provides even greener pastures for women, than being an affirmative action CEO at eBay. She wanted to move up, so she got off eBay's back, so now eBay actually has a chance.

Not sure that should be the case. (1, Interesting)

SuperKendall (25149) | more than 4 years ago | (#30012896)

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 the whole skype thing.

Re:Not sure that should be the case. (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30012980)

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

Re:Not sure that should be the case. (4, Insightful)

something_wicked_thi (918168) | more than 4 years ago | (#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.

Re:Meg Whitman (1)

herojig (1625143) | more than 4 years ago | (#30013884)

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.

Re:Meg Whitman (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30019464)

Look, Meg White was serviceable drummer, but she is hardly an electable one. Now I hear she is also forming the White Skypes or something with stuff she got off eBay. If I were Jack, I would rein her in pronto.

Wow (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30012884)

That mess cleaned up much easier than I expected.

Re:Wow (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30013112)

Yeah, except I wonder if you can explain who was Friday?

Re:Wow (1)

siloko (1133863) | more than 4 years ago | (#30013624)

Yeah, there was me worrying that these chaps wouldn't get their well earned billions.

Re:Wow (1)

kubrick (27291) | more than 4 years ago | (#30013676)

... again.

Skype will still be kicking. (4, Interesting)

Z00L00K (682162) | more than 4 years ago | (#30012904)

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.

Re:Skype will still be kicking. (1)

DigiShaman (671371) | more than 4 years ago | (#30013038)

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.

Re:Skype will still be kicking. (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30013126)

Hey, European fucksticks, I can't sleep so I thought I'd amuse myself by making fun of you. I know you fuckwads like to drive your little clown cars and feel superior *snicker* but, I was wondering, how's that $7.50 per gallon gas treating you? See, I realize you asswipes drive shitty little diesel Citroens, and Renaults and what have you and get something like 50 plus mpg, and my Prius only gets about 46ish but, damn, I pay a third as much for my gas. Ha ha! Sucks to be you.

Also, I was musing on the fact that you assholes like to talk shit about your cellphones. So, it occurred to me that not only is the US the home to the iPhone, the Droid, the G1, etc. but computers and electronics sure are a hell of a lot cheaper here. Sure is nice to live in America.

And, why can't you fuckers make a decent OS? Everything you make gets killed by what you produce here. Windows rules. You hate it but you're using it right now. OSX is gorgeous. Linux is a mere pathetic clone of Unix, also a product of the US. What do you have that is even relevant? Even the largest Linux company, Red Hat, is right here in the US. So we even take you crap and shine it up and sell it back to you. It's nuts.

What is it that you fuckwads even do that matters at all? You're all pathetic and you disgust me.

Re:Skype will still be kicking. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30014830)

You think you're talking to *me*, Holmes? I don't pay anything for gas. I pay SEK 690 (roughly USD 100) a month for an unlimited public transport pass that'll get me within 2 blocks of anyplace I want to go in the greater Stockholm area, 24/7. Including ferry boats to some of the islands. Does your Suburban Assault Vehicle float?

I'm very happy with my mobile phone and I pay about USD 50 a month for a plan that includes free calls to any other number in the country. And I can ring almost anywhere else in Europe, Asia, or Australia for about $1.50 a call. I get 24 mb broadband Internet with no bandwidth cap for about USD 50 as well.

I also get low-cost medical and dental care, my kids get free education all the way through graduate school, I'm not afraid to walk the streets at night, I have 6 weeks paid vacation a year (in a country where nearly everyone gets at least 5), I can't be summarily fired from my job or kicked out of my flat without cause/due process, and I can look forward to a retirement that's on a rather nicer level than the cardboard-box and tinned-beans sort that's waiting for you once the nut-jobs get done finishing off what's left of your Social Security.

Suck on *that*, Clem Cadiddlehopper.

Re:Skype will still be kicking. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30016974)

lol retard.. rightwing lunatics and their inferiority complexes .. you should ask Fox if you can get your own show on their network!

Re:Skype will still be kicking. (1)

Malc (1751) | more than 4 years ago | (#30013172)

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.

Skype and Firefox (1)

dna_(c)(tm)(r) (618003) | more than 4 years ago | (#30015004)

On Win XP the (silly) skype plugin made Firefox crash several times a day. Skype never asked whether I wanted the plugin.

Re:Skype will still be kicking. (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30013810)

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 skype spy client.

Skype spy client is an extremely poor alternative to an open communication standard with a lively community of compatible talk clients. Unfortunately such a community has not yet materialized [osalt.com] . And before you point to SIP clients [wikipedia.org] , please do a little bit of research from "Joe Six pack's" point of view which is: Download and install Skype spy client in three mouse clicks and talk. SIP clients AFAIK are overly complicated to use - and it seems the protocol is built to make sure they stay that way. Sad, just sad.

.

Re:Skype will still be kicking. (1)

Allicorn (175921) | more than 4 years ago | (#30014124)

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 being a "back door into your system".

Re:Skype will still be kicking. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30014410)

occupying a rather large amount of memory in our computers.

You mean in your computers? Skype consistently hovers around 38 megs of memory (Private working set) on my netbook and performs very well. Do you have an ass-ton of add-ons loaded, or what?

Re:Skype will still be kicking. (1)

Drakin020 (980931) | more than 4 years ago | (#30014444)

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.

Re:Skype will still be kicking. (1)

RockDoctor (15477) | more than 4 years ago | (#30024706)

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

Odd ; my 3.8 installation is running about 51MB on Vista 32-bit.
That link for OldVersions looks worth a raiding session.

Re:Skype will still be kicking. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30020784)

Skype is the one application, I can't live without. Ebay is the one online service I will never use because it is so user-unfriendly.
  99.99% of people couldn't care less about memory consumption or how many cpu cycles are used by SKYPE.

My guess is that SKYPE is on the edge of a waterfall (in the positive sense) and will completely dominate IP telephony within 5 years or so.

EBAY is a joke. Their website is shit. I tried to use it but gave up with all their password policy bollocks. It doesn't surprise me that they are selling SKYPE. However in 10 years, SKYPE will still be huge, as for Ebay..... , who knows...

That is... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30013090)

so Skypetastic! This will ease the fears a lot of Skype users, who used it as their primary phone, had.

For those of us ignoring Skype... (3, Insightful)

CarpetShark (865376) | more than 4 years ago | (#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?

Re:For those of us ignoring Skype... (4, Interesting)

tsa (15680) | more than 4 years ago | (#30013160)

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.

Re:For those of us ignoring Skype... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30013508)

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.

So how does Fring do it?

Re:For those of us ignoring Skype... (1)

tsa (15680) | more than 4 years ago | (#30013534)

I have no idea. I use Fring every now and then, and I always wondered how they do it. Maybe they have a license? How do they make money anyway?

Re:For those of us ignoring Skype... (4, Interesting)

Malc (1751) | more than 4 years ago | (#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.

Re:For those of us ignoring Skype... (1)

whancock (1651145) | more than 4 years ago | (#30013338)

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.

Re:For those of us ignoring Skype... (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30013368)

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

Re:For those of us ignoring Skype... (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30014166)

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.

Re:For those of us ignoring Skype... (1)

felix9x (562120) | more than 4 years ago | (#30015268)

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?

Re:For those of us ignoring Skype... (1)

dkf (304284) | more than 4 years ago | (#30020050)

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.)

Re:For those of us ignoring Skype... (1)

BrokenHalo (565198) | more than 4 years ago | (#30014802)

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 product that isn't rejected by non-geeks. I'd say it's a relief that the parties have managed in a definite case of "sudden outbreak of common sense" to settle their differences so amicably.

Re:For those of us ignoring Skype... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30015666)

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.

ekiga v3.x is pretty good with audio, (as well as video these days the h264 video codecs).

The only thing skype beats it on then is its ability to punch through firewalls and huge existing userbase.

Re:For those of us ignoring Skype... (1)

tokul (682258) | more than 4 years ago | (#30013376)

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:For those of us ignoring Skype... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30013510)

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.

Re:For those of us ignoring Skype... (1)

tokul (682258) | more than 4 years ago | (#30013842)

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.

Re:For those of us ignoring Skype... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30013724)

consortium OF BILLIONAIRE INVESTORS, and not consortium of open-source hippies... So no open source hope here, move along...

Re:For those of us ignoring Skype... (1)

Smegly (1607157) | more than 4 years ago | (#30015436)

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] ...

not much of a surprise (2, Insightful)

Trepidity (597) | more than 4 years ago | (#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.

Re:not much of a surprise (1)

boudie2 (1134233) | more than 4 years ago | (#30014276)

Yes you can! By giving your money to those companies who don't use these tactics and questionable practices. Such as, er, um ... uhhhhh .... well, maybe I spoke precipitously when I said yes you can. No you can't.

Re:not much of a surprise (1)

SpinyNorman (33776) | more than 4 years ago | (#30014564)

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 controversy.

Re:not much of a surprise (1)

chill (34294) | more than 4 years ago | (#30017018)

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.

In China, it's Tom Skype. Any change there? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30013246)

Just today, I was told that PRC's gov't can monitor Skype conversations, ie, IF one side is the Chinese variation, namely: "Tom Skype" (sp?).

Are variations like that one in the deal? Would they be open sourced?

(Surprisingly, plain, vanilla Skype can be used in RoC (Taiwan)... can it solve the invasion of privacy in PRC...? Anybody here know?(

I want their lawyer (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30013870)

These two guys must be rolling around the floor in delerium! They get paid billions for their software by eBay, and then when eBay sells it off, they get paid billions again. F'n sweet deal for them! These guys lawyers are genius.

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