Skype Founders File To Block Software Use - InformationWeek

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Skype Founders File To Block Software Use

Zennstrom and Friis say they still own the software that enables the VoIP service to operate.

In a saga with more twists and turns than an Agatha Christie mystery, Skype founders Niklas Zennstrom and Janus Friis have filed a motion for a preliminary injunction against their former partner, Mike Volpi, who has been involved in an effort to break off Skype from eBay in a $1.9 billion deal.

In the first twist, Zennstrom and Friis fired their former partner, Mike Volpi, as chairman of their Joost Web TV firm. Then Zennstrom and Friis sued Volpi for allegedly misusing confidential information. In the latest litigation, Zennstrom and Friis are seeking to prevent Volpi and his Index Ventures venture capital firm from using software that enables Skype to operate.

Zennstrom and Friis sold Skype to eBay for $2.6 billion and additional considerations in 2006, but they maintain that when they left the operation they kept ownership of Global index Software that is necessary for the VoIP service to operate.

Volpi has been part of the deal to re-establish Skype as a separate company that includes Index Ventures, venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz, private equity company Silver Lake, and the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board. Zennstrom and Friis had expressed interest in regaining at least some control over Skype, but they weren't included in the lineup of investors. eBay said it decided to spin off Skype when it became evident it didn't provide synergy for its main online auction business.

The Zennstrom-Friis litigation was filed this week through their Joost US and Joltid Limited businesses in U.S. District Court for the District of Delaware. They have requested a hearing date of Nov. 2 on the issue.


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