Volpi Gets Un-Joost

joostOnline video distribution company Joost—once positioned to be one of the major players in Internet video distribution—has announced that shareholders have removed high-profile executive Mike Volpi from his position as the chairman of the company’s board of directors. Prior to his role as chairman, Volpi had been serving as the company’s CEO, a role he stepped away from in June when the company announced it would be shuttering its own video service and instead work on providing so-called “white label” video distribution technology to other companies. Joost also announced it would be investigating Volpi’s actions as both CEO and chairman of Joost.

The drama surrounding Volpi involves his roles at the private equity firm Index Ventures as well as Joost – and involves both Skype and Ebay. Index Ventures is one of the investment firms that recently bought a majority stake Ebay’s VoIP operation Skype for $1.9 billion. Skype is in an intellectual property battle with Janus Friis and Niklas Zennstrom over the fundamental peer-to-peer networking technology at the heart of Skype; not coincidently, Friis and Zennstrom are also the founders of Joost.

Prior to taking on the CEO position at Joost, Volpi was considered a possible candidate to replace Cisco CEO John Chambers; however, despite a promising start, Joost’s application-based blend of streaming video and Web 2.0 social networking capabilities failed to gain significant traction in the marketplace, and by the time the service converted to a Flash-based Web 2.0 application a year ago it was already facing significant competition from a number of established services.

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