Posted by: Olga Kharif on January 13, 2010
In an effort to get Skype onto more mobile phones, on Jan. 13 Skype appointed a new chairman. Miles Flint, who has served as an advisor to one of Skype investors, Silver Lake, and used to be president of Sony Ericsson Mobile Communications.
The appointment likely signals Skype’s increasing determination to make further inroads into mobile, where it’s not had as much traction as hoped. Several years ago, Hutchison Whampoa began offering 3 Skypephone. Skype has also made the service available as an application consumers can download onto some of the most popular smartphones, such as the iPhone. But Skype is yet to conquer mobile phones in a big way.
Flint may help change that. While at Sony Ericsson, he’d overseen the launch of popular phones like the Walkman line. And he may have the industry contacts and expertise necessary to launch more Skype-branded phones, and to get the software onto more handsets directly at the factory. He may also be able help Skype to make its software and its business model more attractive to handset makers and their carrier customers.
What’s more, Flint also has connections and experience with consumer electronics other than mobile phones, having worked in marketing for Sony. Those connections could come in handy now: All consumer electronics, including digital photo frames, cameras and even televisions are getting connected to the Web. And Flint may be able to help Skype get onto more consumer electronics gear, wireless (as is increasingly the case) as well as hooked onto the Internet via cables.