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Exclusive-Skype's Jonathan Rosenberg, Father of SIP, Bolts Back To Cisco

Jonathan Rosenberg, who is widely acknowledged to be the real father of SIP (session initiation protocol) has left Skype to return to Cisco where he will be CTO of Cloud Collaboration.

The loss of Rosenberg to Skype CEO Tony Bates, could not go down very well. Part of Bates agreement and compensation package reportedly includes an executive retnetion clause, and over the past year, the defections from Skype has included many, not limited to doomsday scenario architecht (if Skype lost JoltID) Jason Fischl, Communications Czar Brian O'Shaughnessy who guided Skype's story from the pre Silver Lake day through to recent times very artfully, uber publicist Brianna Reynaud and business products communications pro Sravanthi Agrawal plus others like customer service glue and lead Edmund Read in London. Each of these execs, and others inside Bates' kitchen cabinet who came over pre-aquisition days played key roles in Skype growth and success, and each has now left, likely taking their vested options and seeking greener pastures. Bates on the other hand has shifted his base of operations to Redmond, forsaking the highly touted Palo Alto Skype campus, as he pursues the role of heir apparent to Steve Ballmer. something COO Kevin Turner may have some concerns with. As a corporate exec of an enterprise and consumer blended company, Bates may be the best man for the job at Microsoft as he brings the same kind of sales killer instinct that Ballmer appreciates and is extremely politically savvy and technologically adept. 

The loss of Rosenberg though, perhaps one of the brightest minds in real time communications, has to be seen as a big loss to fellow visionary at Microsoft, Dr. Joseph Williams, the architecht behind Microsoft's Lync and the leading proponent who led and fired up Microsoft's decision to aquire Skype. Williams was the first to see Skype as a competitor to Lync-a product everyone from Steve Ballmer on down sees as a core part of the Windows OS giant's future, and pushed to make sure Skype didn't get in the way of the opportunities before Microsoft.

Rosenberg, who foresaw the rise of SIP, and in reality WebRTC had encouraged Skype into taking a more WebOS direction a few years back when he spoke at eComm in Burlingame, CA. He was the guiding light on where things needed to go and his ability to talk to both engineers and business team members likely unduplicated. Add in his savvy with technology creation, he was a perfect compliment to Williams' internal political savvy at Microsoft, and Williams ability to bring a product to market. Clearly Rosenberg's defection is more a blow to Williams, who is not the corporate guerrilla that Bates is, and who ironically, is also ex-Cisco, the company where Rosenberg was before coming over to Skype under now AMEX lead Internet executive Josh Silverman. The combination of Williams and Rosenberg, both of whom I have had the ability to interact with at different times (Dynamicsoft with Rosenberg, as a moderator of panels with Williams) is a deep and sad blow to Skype, Lync and Microsoft.

The combined loss of Rosenberg, Fischl and many others who were critical to keeping Skype on the upward path as well as how management worked with the technology and engineering team all clearly calls into question if Skype can continue to be both innovative (taking core IMS ideas and delivering them without the overhead) or remain at all disruptive. This opens the door for folk like HookFlash and Erik Lagerway, Truphone's James Tagg, or even Telio founder Alan Duric to figure out the next way people communicate in disruptive manners, much akin to Gizmo Project's Michael Robertson's vision of better, less expensive, more complete communications in one service.

Clearly there's mutiny inside Skype.

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