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Shake Up At Skype - How I See It

The New York Time's Brad Stone broke a story late Tuesday night about COO Scott Durchslag departing Skype to return to the world of the Fortune 500, from whence he came, as the gentle giant from Motorola was put in as part of a big picture, strategic rethink by the eBay folks.

Now, with a more startup, venture capital like investor group, its obvious the new board wants current CEO Josh Silverman to be the hands on, day to day leader (note Silverman is delivering a keynote at CES this year), and has basically said, "strategy time is over, now it's time to play the game."

With the return of Niklas Zennstrom and Janus Friis, plus the involvement of Mark Andreessen, plus the Silver Lake folks, you have all the strategists needed.

I read all this though another way, as I read between the lines of the various stories. Skype wants to be in mobile in a big way. They have for a few years. Durchslag came out of a big mobile company and didn't get them there. All the rest is just out there to soften the blows.

This also support a long running theory I have about "big company" guys, playing in the start-up, or even venture backed universe. It's not really where they are at their best. Durchslag is a very good executive, who executed very well to get Skype focused, but now, in a changed playing field, he wasn't the right player for Skype's new game and will do very well where he goes next.


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