Is Skype on a slippery slide?

(Paul Rogers/The Times)

(Paul Rogers/The Times)

Skype the VOip telephone solution that rattle a few cages when it launched and more so as broadband connections increased is heading into rocky territory but not of its own making … well almost.

Due to a dispute over the core technology used to make the internet telephone system work Skype might have to shut down.

EBay is now facing a court battle with the original founders of the company who retained the rights to the technology at the heart of the system despite eBay paying $US2.6 billion (£1.6 billion) for the voice-over-the-internet system back in 2005.

In a regulatory filing eBay admitted that it might have to close the company down. It said it was trying to develop alternative software but if that did not work. If eBay lost the right to the original software: “Skype would be severely and adversely affected and the continued operation of Skype’s business as currently conducted would likely not be possible.”

EBay’s plan to spin off Skype, scheduled for next year however the dispute now threatens these plans.

Skype filed a claim in London against Swedish company Joltid earlier this year, which is controlled by Skype co-founders Niklas Zennstrom and Janus Friis. Skype is seeking resolution on a dispute over a software licensing agreement between the parties that Joltid was seeking to terminate.

“In particular, Joltid has alleged that Skype should not possess, use or modify certain software source code and that, by doing so, and by disclosing such code in certain US patent cases pursuant to orders from US courts, Skype has breached the license agreement,” eBay said in the filing.

Joltid states that Skype was in violation of the original agreement and brought a counterclaim, reiterating that it held the rights to the peer-to-peer technology

A court hearing has been set for June 2010 in London.

When it started in 2002 Skype, allowed users to make calls from their computers to landlines, mobile phones and other computers. The heart of Skype is its key peer-to-peer technology created by its founders who also created the file-sharing software Kazaa.

The service has continued to grow rapidly. It added 37.3 million users, bringing its total number of registered users to 480.5 million, making it the most widely-used international calling system in the world. The unit’s revenue increased 25 per cent during the second quarter from the previous year to $170 million, according to eBay’s results in June.

Posted by Kevin Andreassend

Associated companies. ICE AV Technology Ltd
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Kevin Andreassend

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One Response

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