Skype CEO, not investors, made the key cuts

9 thoughts on “Skype CEO, not investors, made the key cuts”

    1. I am going to talk to others as well and trying to get to the bottom of it, including looking for photos etc. Clearly there is two sides to this story. Each one is half the story as they say.

      1. I have yet to see your “other side” of the story. But from my experience, a move like this by the CEO does not occur without the “behind the scenes” negotiations and approval of the board and investors. It is all smoke and mirrors to try and shift some of the bad press from Microsoft. No doubt Bates was promised something, perhaps keeping his job, in return for taking the heat.

        Whatever the case, this is a pretty nasty example of corporate greed screwing over its employees, other reports I have read put the amount the fired employees lost at a much greater amount than 25%. I have never had a great opinion of Microsoft, especially since Ballmer took charge, but this is particularly unpleasant, and I’m shocked that GigaOm would just take such cover-up PR at face value.

  1. From what I understand, Skype’s investors did not respect most of Skype’s management. They wouldn’t have had to pull the pin on these guys themselves if they had expressed this opinion to the CEO they installed, and taking the blame is the least Bates can do for his payout.

  2. I second what @Darwin has stated. I find it hard to believe that this was part of the normal business operations. Firing 8 senior people in one shot!

  3. “Skype investors say that most of these executives are getting about 75 percent of the payouts *due to them*.”

    Or worded differently, these executives are getting screwed out of about 25% of the payouts *due to them*.

    1. Exactly – total scum bags. It is hard to find strong ethics and morality in business anymore. Just look at the way banks treat their customers… Hope these guys sue the shite out of these greedy a-holes.

  4. To those who say that Skype employees should have sought legal advice – a few comments in response

    – Skype employees have a stock option agreement and a stock option plan. The stock option plan, in turn, contains a “blink and you missed it” reference to a third document, a Partnership Agreement in the Cayman Islands, the jurisdiction where the stock options are actually held. That means to obtain competent legal advice, a typical employee would need to retain lawyers in both their home state and in the Caymans. Then they would need to retain a lawyer in New York because Skype chose New York state law to apply to many provisions (nb: strangely, Skype has no employees in New York and claims, for regulatory purposes, not to even “do business” there). Q – Do we really expect this kind of massive “lawyering up” from new employees?

    – These were not negotiated agreements. Employees were induced to join Skype with promises of stock options, and then, after leaving their other jobs behind, were instructed to sign these convoluted agreements – Take it or leave it.

    – It is very revealing that Skype, unlike every other tech company, chose not to furnish its rank and file employees with a “Q&A” overview or summary of key provisions of its stock option plan. They knew they were engaged in a deception and decided to keep it dark.

    – No amount of lawyering should be able to take away the common-sense and “legal” definition of vested. From Black’s law dictionary “vested ” means “having become a completed, consummated right for present or future enjoyment, not contingent, unconditional, absolute.”

    – Finally Skype/Silver Lake have not successfully cheated anyone out of their vested options yet. This won’t be over for a long time….

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