Peter Kafka

Recent Posts by Peter Kafka

Skype, Microsoft and the Fate of Music Start-Up Rdio

While you’re debating what the Microsoft Skype deal means for investors and users, here’s another one: What does it mean for Rdio?

It’s not an entirely random question. As a result of a complicated settlement with Skype founders Niklas Zennström and Janus Friis, the chat service ended up investing $6 million in the streaming music start-up the two men have also backed.

The company hasn’t disclosed how much it has raised in total, but earlier this year it announced it had raised a $17.5 million B round.

And I’m pretty sure the two companies were planning on deepening their ties, with Skype attempting to help the fledgling service find users.

Skype’s now-defunct IPO filing hinted at this, noting that “for a period extending until November 19, 2011, we will not provide, other than with Rdio, or engage others to provide, services for the broadcast of professionally-produced music that is accessible by computer, mobile device, television set-top box, or other device that is capable of accessing the Internet.”

But now Skype is going to be owned by a company that has its own streaming music service. Can’t imagine that Microsoft wants to support both Zune and Rdio. (Neither one of them has found much traction. But to be fair to Rdio, it’s brand new, more or less.)

I’ve asked Microsoft what it intends to do about Rdio, though my hunch is it has a lot on its plate right now (Update: The response has arrived: no comment). But I did ask Rdio COO Carter Adamson what he thinks will happen.

His response, via email: “Unfortunately I can’t comment on this at the moment. Will get back to you as soon as we have something concrete for you.”


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I think the NSA has a job to do and we need the NSA. But as (physicist) Robert Oppenheimer said, “When you see something that is technically sweet, you go ahead and do it and argue about what to do about it only after you’ve had your technical success. That is the way it was with the atomic bomb.”

— Phil Zimmerman, PGP inventor and Silent Circle co-founder, in an interview with Om Malik