eBay dials up a deal to sell Skype
The telecoms game-changer Skype has finally been sold by eBay after months of idle speculation and worthless gossip. This news may very well be speculation and gossip itself, but since the chief rumour-monger is The New York Times, it's more than likely to be true.
A new venture capital firm headed by the Netscape co-founder Marc Andreessen is thought to be one of several investors buying Skype from eBay, who paid a colossal $2.6 billion for the operation back in 2005. The new owners will probably pay far less; analysts at the time of the original deal said eBay had paid over the odds, and reports earlier in the year suggested eBay were willing to accept almost a billion dollars less.
The only fly in the ointment is an outstanding licensing dispute with Joltid, who wrote the code at the heart of Skype's peer-to-peer communications. Unless that situation is resolved, then any new owners could quickly find themselves with an unworkable product and over 440 million registered users banging on their door - they'd have to bang at the door one at a time meaning massive queues, or it'd need to be a door the size of Portugal. Either way, that'd be a story in itself.