A Lesson from the eBay-Skype Situation

skype A Lesson from the eBay Skype SituationAfter watching all the drama surrounding Skype over the last few days, I can only conclude that Meg Whitman, the CEO of eBay duing its 2005 acquisition of Skype, was a moron. At the very least, she severely undervalued the role of technology in the technology business.

Think about it. eBay bought Skype for a whopping $2.6 billion. Never mind that eBay’s vision for Skype — auction integration — was utterly nebulous. eBay spent all that money, and they didn’t even get a license to the source code.

Now, the founders of Skype are suing eBay for trying to tinker with Skype’s source code. All this happened because some numbskull corporate suit with no prior technology background figured that geeky “source code” stuff wasn’t worth buying.

Don’t get me wrong; I’m not a Skype hater. I love Skype. It’s my primary VoIP service. That’s why I’m saddened to learn Whitman handled Skype’s acquisition so poorly. That’s why I’m saddened to learn she overlooked Skype’s core technology. That’s why I’m saddened to learn her lack of tech-savvy has endangered Skype’s future.

Let the eBay-Skype situation serve a reminder to everyone working in the technology business: it’s as much about the technology as it is the business.

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Comments

  1. Patricia013 says:

    You’re absolutely right. Meg Whitman IS a moron and now she want to govern California…as if we aren’t in enough of a mess! Truth is, a company the size and wealth of Ebay should have a CEO with enough sense to hire on a few lawyers who are also tech-saavy or have some real techs present who can look at that side of a transaction. The present CEO, another ex-Bain wonderboy is no better – he is driving the whole company toward a cliff! I guess you get what you pay for ;-)

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  1. [...] a lot more sense than eBay buying Skype four years ago — and will probably produce a ton less drama. Gizmo5 may not have Skype’s enormous userbase, but Google clearly bought the VoIP service [...]

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