Four years later, Skype’s founders looking to buy it back.
The popular VoIP service Skype started out as an independent company, and it may soon end up the same way. Skype’s founders, Niklas Zennstrom and Janus Friis, are reportedly looking for ways to buy the company back from eBay, after having sold it to the auction giant in 2005. eBay may be open to such a deal too, as the two companies have had trouble meshing right from the start.
Zennstrom and Friis sold Skype to eBay in 2005 for US$2.6 billion in cash and stock, with the possibility of an additional $1.5 billion payout if certain financial goals were met. At the time, eBay planned to integrate Skype’s technologies into its online auction business, providing buyers with a “click to call” button on auctions so that they could ask questions and communicate with sellers. eBay also postulated that it could use Skype on its own customer support site, giving consumers a problem-solving option in addition to eBay’s Web interface.
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I’m hoping that this sale happens. I don’t have much use for telephone service, but when I do I use Skype, and I’d really prefer it if any telecommunications service I use weren’t owned by Americans.