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logo_skypeeBay is to announce a deal to sell the popular Internet telephony service Skype to an investment group. What could this mean for Skype users?

eBay has reportedly been trying to shake off Skype for some time. The service has never been quite the earner they had hoped, and recent legal problems concerning ownership of the core technology behind Skype must have made selling Skype much more attractive.

Back in July two of the original team behind Skype – Janus Frils and Niklas Zennstrom – announced that they still owned the rights to the core technology behind the service and, er, could Skype either stop using it or pay them $$$. A lawsuit is pending, which can’t have made hanging on to Skype an attractive proposition.

With Google Voice about to come out of Beta with a very real chance of raining on Skype’s parade, one option might be for  Skype ditch its proprietary technology and adopt an open protocol. This would mean that Skype would be able to work with other VoIP systems and devices, but might mean that Skype as a company has to rely on selling advertising or add-on services to its customers to make money.

Whatever the new owners of Skype (said to be a collection of venture capital firms) decide to do, there will be implications not only for desktop users, but also for owners of dedicated Skype devices like 3 Mobile’s Skype handset. Interesting times ahead, for sure. We’ll keep you up to date as soon as we hear anything.

TBC | £tbc | Skype (via Mashable)

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