Le Web 3: Web 2.0 stronger but vulnerable, Skype founder says

Skype founder Niklas Zennstrom has said the ‘Web 2.0’ phenomenon is built on more solid foundations than the first dotcom explosion – but a crash could be on the way.

Speaking to delegates at the Le Web 3 conference here in Paris today, Zennstrom said: “The big difference this time from six years ago is that we have the infrastructure built out now – in 2000, very few people had computers.”

He continued: “It’s a sign of hype. When we started Skype in 2002, it took us 10 months for anyone to give us any funding – now there are probably some here writing out cheques.

“There’s absolutely not the same kind of bubble situation as we had last time – but everything has its ups and downs. There is going to be a downturn some time.”

Having revolutionised the music world when he launched the KaZaA peer-to-peer file sharing network, then the telecoms sector with free internet phone calls, Swede Zennstrom is regarded as one of the leading European net entrepreneurs.

“We [European startups] don’t have the same advantage [as the US], so we have to look abroad”, he told delegates. “Forget about your home market – you have to look at other markets.

“When we sold the company, no companies in Europe were interested in us. But the good thing about Skype is we are still a European company.”