What's New: Skype May Shut Down, eBay Says

eBay says it may have to shut down its Skype personal Internet VoIP service due to a licensing dispute with the original founders. It bought Skype from Niklas Zennstrom and Janus Friis in 2005 for $2.6 billion, but this did not include a core piece of peer-to-peer communications technology that powers the software. Now, the duo's firm, Joltid, is refusing to extend the license on that software.

eBay is appealing to European courts, and trying to rewrite that portion of the software, but says even if successful they may not be able to make it compatible with software used by existing Skype users. And that is no small matter...Skype has about 480 million user accounts (almost twice as many as Facebook) with 40 million active daily users. Recent estimates put the free Skype service at about 8 percent of all international voice traffic, which would make it the world's largest international voice provider.

Monday, Aug 3, 2009 08:23 am CDT

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