Skype Crisis: Where was the eBay Management?

It has been an interesting 30 hours for Skype, its community and its engineers. The outage that caused anxiety amongst millions who depend on Skype for communications exposed the fragility of our digital lives.

And in this moment of crisis, eBay’s (EBAY) senior management was AWOL. Ebay and Skype management are happy to talk to the press when delivering the good news, but in this crisis situation, the silence was deafening.

Ebay CEO Meg Whitman, Skype co-founder Niklas Zennstrom, and other Skype management made no statement, gave no assurances to their community, leaving their PR agency and the blog to keep people informed. Of course, this led to even more speculation, rumors and innuendoes.

Sure their words wouldn’t have brought the service online faster, but it would have made it clear to Skypers that eBay’s management cared. Skype President Henry Gomez has background in corporate communications, so he should know a thing or two about crisis management communications.

Ebay bought Skype for $2.6 billion indicating that it was making a bet on the future of distributed communications. Unfortunately, the senior management didn’t learn how to communicate!