Skype’s future may be in jeopardy

The future of Skype, arguably the most popular Internet
telephony program around, could be in jeopardy, due to an ongoing legal battle.Skype

In a quarterly filing, parent company eBay noted it would be
forced to discontinue the service if it loses the right to use part of its
peer-to-peer VOIP (voice over IP) software and can’t find a replacement. As
CNN, which first reported the filing, points out, though, there’s no immediate
danger of Skype going away.

The fight is with a company called Joltid, which claims
Skype broke a licensing agreement to use the software. EBay, predictably, said
it believes it can win the court fight, but it is developing its own
replacement peer-to-peer VOIP as a precaution. There is, of course, no
guarantee that development will be successful.

Beyond the potential shutdown of the company, the legal
fight creates an additional pair of headaches for Skype. EBay has been eager to
spin the company off publicly, with a target of the first part of next year.
Looming legal problems could delay that.

In the meantime, Google is in the midst of a closed beta
test of Google Voice, which will send calls to users’ mobile, home and work
phone numbers to a singly number, offer cheap international rates and offer other
features, which could be a threat to Skype regardless of its legal situation.

At present, Skype boasts over 480 million registered users,
who use the service mostly for video and telephone conversations.

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  1. The Unix Guy says:

    I Skype my dog all the time. But he never replies. Never though of Jay Leno. Hmmm.

  2. Tim says:

    Do you think Google may be behind the move by Joltid? Why else would they kill the goose that laid the golden egg? Personally I got rid of my cellphone 2 years ago and went Skype only after being tethered to my cell-u-leash for 14 years. No more useless calls, texts, or Twitters that amount to the other party being bored and looking for me to entertain them. I can actually enjoy the world around me.
    Two weeks ago I was at the weekly Ferrari/Lamborghini gathering with Jay Leno and did a Skype video call to my uncle in Georgia. Jay thought Skype was pretty cool too.

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