Skype CEO Muffled by Bad Audio Feed

Reporter's Snapshot: Skype CEO Niklas Zennstrom calls VOIP "an ecosystem" for free worldwide communication. However, the medium interfered with the message when audio difficulties delayed and then garbled his keynote address to attende

BOSTON—Peer-to-peer VOIP player Skype is aiming to become "an ecosystem where people around the world can be connected for free," CEO Niklas Zennstrom said Tuesday.

Furthermore, the company wants to use its technology to connect users with services. For example, a German businessman and a Japanese businessman might be in need of a translator who they could pipe into the phone call, and they could find one using the Skype ecosystem, he said.

At least thats a best estimate at what he said.

Zennstrom—founder of the worlds most popular peer-to-peer VOIP software company and of the controversial file-sharing application Kazaa—was a featured speaker at the VON conference here.

/zimages/1/28571.gifClick here to read about how eBays purchase of Skype points to emerging services.

Zennstrom had planned to give his speech over a satellite feed from his home country of Sweden, using software from Skype Technologies.

But technical difficulties delayed the keynote address and other speakers took the stage while conference organizers tried to figure out what the problem was.

"The sound you hear is the sound of eBay stock going down," quipped Blair Levin, a managing director and regulatory strategy analyst at Legg Mason, during the wait.

The online retailer last week announced that it was acquiring Skype for $2.6 billion, as well as the potential for $1.5 billion in future performance-based payments. Skype has some 53 million registered users.

Eventually, an hour late, Zennstroms speech began. But the technical difficulties continued. As there was no video from Sweden, the crowd had to settle for a head shot of Zennstrom and an audio feed—reportedly using the VOIP technology.

Some of the speech came across clearly—the sentiment that eBay would help Skype deliver its ecosystem vision, for example. But much of the feed was muffled.

According to this reporters notes: "The industry warple watt," Zennstrom said. "We need to take advantage of other warple warple. Fortunately, policy makers are putting things into perspective."


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