Alarming revelations from ITWire, that Skype might have to be shut down because of a licensing dispute between eBay and the company's founders.
Remember when eBay purchased Skype from Niklas Zennstrom and Janus Friis for $US2.6 billion in 2005? It seems that did not include the technology that Skype needs to operate. As a result, eBay licensed the technology from the entrepreneurs' new company, Joltid, which creates peer-to-peer technology. The plot thickened when the two decided to pull the licensing agreement. The case has been scheduled for hearing before the English High Court in June next year.
eBay's filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission makes it quite clear that Skype's future really hangs on the court ruling.
The filing says: "Although Skype is confident of its legal position, as with any litigation, there is the possibility of an adverse result if the matter is not resolved through negotiation. Skype has begun to develop alternative software to that licensed through Joltid. However, such software development may not be successful, may result in loss of functionality or customers even if successful, and will in any event be expensive. If Skype was to lose the right to use the Joltid software as the result of the litigation, and if alternative software was not available, Skype would be severely and adversely affected and the continued operation of Skype's business as currently conducted would likely not be possible."
How likely is that to happen? It's impossible to tell. PC World reports that eBay is finally now trying to find alternatives to the technology, icing out its founders.
A Skype-less world is hard to contemplate. Watch this space.