Skype founder slams “lazy” Swedes

Niklas Zennström, the Swede who made headlines last week for selling his Skype internet telephony company to Ebay in a multi-billion dollar deal, has slammed Sweden's high taxes and job protection and has laid into his fellow countrymen for being lazy.

“Maybe this doesn’t work too well when the rest of the world is working hard,” he says.

Zennström acknowledges that Sweden is an advanced IT nation, but only when it comes to high user rates.

“There aren’t many successful IT products or companies from Sweden,” he told TT.

“Ericsson is doing well, but it’s a long time since it was founded.”

One reason for the shortage of successful IT companies is Swedes themselves:

“People don’t work very hard in Sweden. They go home at five, and take the whole summer off work.”

“If you go to China people work all day and try to create great things – they are much hungrier,” he says.

Zennström, who left Sweden in the mid-nineties, also launched a barely veiled attack on the Swedish government. He slammed the Swedish business climate and wants reductions in bureaucracy, less job protection and lower taxes.

Asked about the Swedish investors who turned down the chance to invest in Skype when it needed money, Zennström replies:

“Either we were bad at selling our idea, or they were cowards.”

It’s clear what he thinks.

Do Swedes work hard enough? Discuss here

TT/The Local