Online-video startup Joost — whose name we think is Estonian for "trouble" — will cease development of its little-used desktop application and focus exclusively on a long-expected Web-browser plugin. None of which solves Joost's biggest problem: a lack of compelling content. Considering how difficult it was for NBC to convince many to download Microsoft's Silverlight browser plugin for online coverage of the Olympics, it's unlikely that users will flock to download something from an even more obscure company, especially when Adobe is building features similar to Joost's into Flash.But hey, Joost's plugin adds a social layer and RSS feeds! What, nothing for Facebook or the iPhone? If you're going to placate disgruntled investors like Viacom CEO Philippe Dauman with technology buzzwords, try to pick something they might have heard of. Cofounder Niklas Zennström might want to stick to yachting, because at least that enterprise is a winner.
At Skandia Cowes Week on the Isle of Wight, Niklas Zennström's racing yacht Ran won five of seven races amongst the largest class of boats, and won the overall title without having to race on the final day. Zennström joined the competitive yachting class after successfully suckering eBay into buying Skype. His latest project, Joost, however, couldn't generate enough hype to raise the spinnaker, with the online video startup's sails continuing to
luft luff in dead winds. (Photo by Rick Tomlinson)
Money isn't everything. Mark Zuckerberg may have the highest net worth among his generation of entrepreneurs, but the Facebook CEO only gets 21 out of 294 pages in Sarah Lacy's new Web 2.0 book, Once You're Lucky, Twice You're Good. That's 16 more than his sister, nerd chanteuse Randi Jayne Zuckerberg, which tells us Lacy has her priorities all wrong. The Zuckerbergs' index page:
Skype will fire 30 employees in London and Estonia, Om Malik reports. Skype, a subsidiary of eBay, has not yet confirmed the news. The 30 headed for the door will join Skype cofounder Niklas Zennstrom, who in October resigned as Skype CEO as eBay took a $1.4 billion asset-impairment charge on the company it purchased for $2.5 billion in 2005.
Niklas Zennstrom, CEO of Skype, and eBay are paying the price for the disastrous acquisition of the Internet telephony service two years ago. The Skype cofounder has stepped down from his CEO role, and eBay will take a $1.4 billion asset-impairment charge — more than half of the $2.5 billion they paid for the company. The silver lining? eBay only has to pay $530 million of a potential $1.7 billion earn-out to Skype investors, since Skype is performing so poorly. With the shareholder payment out of the way, eBay can more easily put Skype on the auction block. And Zennstrom can focus on Joost, his new online-video venture.