Whilst the whole world is talking about eBay flogging off most of Skype for $1.9bn and retaining a 35% share, it’s pretty much been missed that eBay are underwriting up to 50% of any court imposed monetary judgment for the alleged infringing of Joltid’s technology.
The big question is, on a company valued at almost £3bn, (based on the sale price) just how much is the underlying technology worth? If a deal can’t be brokered with Joltid, and the courts decides Skype has infringed their patents, it’s unlikely any fine or settlement will be small.
Skype on the other hand, soon to be free of eBay’s ownership, are blithely carrying on with business as usual. Their latest coup is an exclusive advertising partnership around CNN’s nightly programme “Connect the World“. Skype will be be running ads around the “Connector of the Day” segment in Europe, the Middle East, Africa, Asia Pacific and Latin America.
It’s hard not to admire Skype as a company, from it’s inception to the present day they continue to grow in turnover and profitability, gathering great press, whilst any negatives are invariably directed towards eBay. It’s a great sleight of hand and Skype are still in their golden age where they can do no wrong, which is where eBay were when I first started trading on the site.
eBay could learn a lot from Skype and their relationship with their customers. The big question is how to turn back the clock and re-engage with the disenchanted eBay detractors and get back to being a company that everyone loves?