by Joe Wallace
If you are a freelancer depending on Skype for interviews, phone contacts, conference calls or video calls, you might want to start looking around for an alternative. Skype could shut down for good over a dispute between eBay and the creators of Skype.
According to TimesOnline, eBay reps admitted the entire Skype network may have to be shut down in spite of having paid more than $2 billion for the technology in 2005. Unfortunately for eBay, that massive sum did not include the rights to some source code crucial to make Skype work.
While the dispute itself is extremely technical in nature and involves patent and intellectual property laws, the bottom line is that eBay must either create its own source code to replace the disputed code, win the dispute, or face shutting down the entire network.
It’s a major blow to freelancers who rely on Skype to hold inexpensive (or free) conference calls and interviews. There are many VOIP services out there, but few with the ubiquity of Skype. If you’re a Skype user, finding an alternate service should be a priority, but according to TimesOnline you do have some breathing room. A court hearing is scheduled on the issue but at press time won’t happen til June 2010.