Skype earnings were, er, “a bit front loaded”

From the New York Times

BUDAPEST, Oct. 9 — In his first public remarks since quitting last week as chief executive of the Internet phone company Skype, Niklas Zennstrom said Tuesday that he had no regrets about his handling of the company but conceded that he might have tried to squeeze money out of it too quickly.

EBay, the online auction company that paid $2.6 billion for Skype in 2005, said last week that it would take a $1.43 billion charge for the service.

EBay has retained Mr. Zennstrom as Skype’s nonexecutive chairman. Michael van Swaaij, eBay’s chief strategy officer, will fill in as chief executive until a permanent successor is hired.

The write-down was widely seen as a concession that eBay had overpaid for Skype, but Mr. Zennstrom, a Swede who was a co-founder of the company in 2003, defended its value.

In the second quarter, revenue grew 100 percent from a year earlier, to $90 million, and the company recorded a profit in the first quarter, he said.

About 220 million people, most of them outside the United States, are registered with Skype, which uses the Internet to carry phone conversations between personal computers.

“It’s not like it’s been overtaken by Microsoft or Google or Yahoo,” Mr. Zennstrom said at a technology conference here. “Over the longer term, I think it’s going to turn out to be a good business.”

Revenue and earnings projections made by Skype executives before the sale to eBay turned out to be “a bit front-loaded,” he said.

“Sometimes I feel like we tried to monetize too rapidly,” Mr. Zennstrom said.