In a short piece summarizing and commenting on the latest developments pointing toward a settlement of the legal conflicts and ownership of Skype, All Things Digital’s Kara Swisher opines as follows:
Skype founders Niklas Zennström and Janus Friis had sued Index and also partner Michelangelo Volpi via tech companies they control, Joltid and Joost.
The pair had already been in a legal battle over software licensing issues with eBay (EBAY), the company that had sold Skype to in 2005.
They then accused Index and Volpi, employing a reputation-bashing style, of using confidential information as part of a consortium bid to acquire a large chunk of Skype.
Well, did Zennstrom and Friis use “a reputation-bashing style” in their litigious cage match with Mike Volpi? I suppose that’s one interpretation of what occurred, but it’s not the only one.
For the record, I read Volpi’s email correspondence, written while he was CEO of Joost, adumbrating his plan to take control of Skype and perhaps serve as chairman of that company. I am not a lawyer, and I am not crazy enough to pass legal judgment on what Volpi said and did while sitting in the big chair at Joost, but it seems to me at least some of his behavior, in that role, was ill-advised and ethically questionable.
I am not the first, nor the last, to reach that determination.
In closing, I’ll just say that even though one’s reputation can be bashed, if one’s integrity is as adamant and unyielding as aggregated diamond nanorods, the bashing will do neither significant nor lasting damage. Conversely, if one is not quite an impregnable ethical fortress, the bashing of one’s reputation can do serious harm.