Ina Fried

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Exclusive: Former Skype Exec Christopher Dean Joins Urban Airship to Oversee the Revenue Side

Several months after being disconnected from Skype, Christopher Dean has found a new gig as chief revenue officer at mobile-notification service provider Urban Airship.

Dean, who was a victim of a Tony Bates housecleaning last summer, says several months on the beach eased the sting of his ouster. After considering CEO positions at some early-stage companies, and looking around in the mobile, social and messaging areas, Dean said he decided that the role at Urban Airship — which specializes in managing push notifications for mobile services — fits well with his background in messaging and communications.

Urban Airship is coming off a $15 million funding round that included investments from Salesforce.com, Intel and Verizon. Urban Airship also recently scooped up Jay Adelson’s SimpleGeo.

“They have a massive opportunity to drive messaging in the mobile world generally, and specifically around push,” Dean said in an interview on Thursday.

Moreover, Dean said he is excited about his new role, which includes responsibility for sales, in addition to his usual arena of business development.

As for Skype, he says he wishes the service well and hopes it will stay true to its cross-platform roots, even as it lands in the hands of Microsoft.

At $8.5 billion, Dean says Microsoft “paid a full price,” but that Redmond can still have gotten a good deal if it is able to integrate the service into its various properties, ranging from Windows Phone and Windows Live to Lync and even Xbox.

“I’ve always said I think the acquisition is a very strong and good one for Microsoft,” Dean said. “I can absolutely see why they did that.”


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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