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Impressing Skype's buyout investors, Mike Volpi bragged he could get Cisco's top stars to jump ship

Volpi: "Jonathan Rosenberg (at Cisco) is the father of SIP, I could get him to jump ship."

By Brad Reese on Wed, 11/04/09 - 11:53pm.

Janus Friis, Niklas Zennstrom and Mike Volpi

The New York Times is reporting that Skype's cofounders Niklas Zennstrom and Janus Friis will become significant owners of the investment group buying a 65% interest in Skype from eBay for approximately $1.9 billion in cash (which values Skype at $2.75 billion).

Simultaneously, it now appears Mike Volpi is being kicked to the curb by the very same investment group he organized to purchase Skype from eBay!

In a fascinating development, copies of Mike Volpi's email messages that appeared within legal litigation exhibits (page 6), reveal he had absolutely no problem stepping on the toes of his former employer, Cisco Systems (which is quite interesting because Volpi was considered by many to be the most likely Cisco executive to succeed John Chambers as Cisco's CEO).

Danny RimerJonathan RosenbergFor example, in the email message below, Mike Volpi bragged to Index Venture partner Danny Rimer that he could steal Cisco's top technical stars (it's also possible that Index Ventures has been kicked out of the Skype ownership investment group too, along with Volpi):

"Jonathan Rosenberg (at Cisco) is the father of SIP, I could get him to jump ship.

"Know a slew of other VoIP people that could kick ass from my Cisco days."

February 23, 2009 email message from Mike Volpi addressed to Danny Rimer bragging about Volpi's ability to steal Cisco stars:

February 23, 2009 email message from Mike Volpi addressed to Danny Rimer

Cisco technical star Jonathan Rosenberg replied to Volpi that he was interested in discussing Skype.

June 16, 2009 email message from Jonathan Rosenberg addressed to Mike Volpi:

June 16, 2009 email message from Jonathan Rosenberg addressed to Mike Volpi

Egon DurbanFurthermore, Skype buyout investor - Egon Durban was enthusiastic about Volpi's idea of stealing Cisco stars.

Durban emailed Volpi about Jonathan Rosenberg - a Cisco Fellow in Cisco's Voice Technology Group:

"Hopefully your VoIP assassin, Rosenberg, provides the vision to create the 'new' scalable platform for us, return on invested capital attractive of course..."

Volpi's email reply to Durban?

"Rosenberg can be our architect, but need a few Indians, not just the chief..."

June 20, 2009 email message from Mike Volpi addressed to Egon Durban:

June 20, 2009 email message from Mike Volpi addressed to Egon Durban

Charlie GiancarloEmbarrassingly, Volpi dumps on his former Cisco colleague and friend, Charlie Giancarlo - Managing Director of Silver Lake Partners and Skype investor:

"Charlie is a good guy, but not a superstar either.

"His core asset at Cisco is that he was much more inclined to say 'Yes' to John than I was."

Stunningly, Volpi then revealed how he was using his friendship with Giancarlo:

"I think the Charlie angle is to keep Dave Roux on track (who is ultimately the decision maker there)."

Volpi also had some unkind words about Silver Lake Managing Director - Egon Durban, who was leading the Skype investment for Silver Lake:

"On the Silver Lake front, I totally get that it's Egon's deal, I didn't like him that much, but happy to develop the relationship there."

May 13, 2009 email message from Mike Volpi addressed to Danny Rimer where Volpi dumps on Charlie Giancarlo:

May 13, 2009 email message from Mike Volpi addressed to Danny Rimer where Volpi dumps on Charlie Giancarlo

John DonahoeShockingly (at least in my opinion), while still employed as the CEO of Joost, Volpi emailed Danny Rimer on June 8, 2009 that he met that day with eBay CEO - John Donahoe with regard to buying Skype and had told Donahoe:

"I told him that I would be disposed to spending 1-2 days a week on the deal in London which he was excited about."

However, in the same email Volpi appeared none too impressed with Donahoe:

"It's clear that he is not really 'visionary' when it comes to Skype and he seemed very interested on getting my views of it."

June 8, 2009 email message from Mike Volpi addressed to Danny Rimer:

June 8, 2009 email message from Mike Volpi addressed to Danny Rimer


What's your take on Mike Volpi?

Brad Reese
BradReese.Com Cisco Refurbished - enables affordable networks globally by assuring customer satisfaction with guaranteed one year warranties on both Cisco Repair as well as Refurbished Cisco.

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