In common with BitTorrent and other file-sharing services, RapidShare has steadily increased its user base in recent years. The site has hundreds of millions of visitors each month and is listed among the 50 most-used sites on the Internet.
For years the company behind the popular file-hoster has been led by CEO/COO Bobby Chang, who worked in the telecommunication business before joining RapidShare. In his work Chang had the difficult task of pleasing the site’s users as well as copyright holders, who were increasingly threatening the company with legal action.
Today, RapidShare has announced that Chang will leave the company with immediate effect, but in mutual agreement. The reason cited is that Chang would no longer be the right person to successfully lead the company.
“We will continue RapidShare’s success story, faster and more consistently. We believe we can better achieve this goal with different leadership – for the benefit of our customers, partners and users,” Christian Schmid, RapidShare’s inventor and founder said in a comment.
RapidShare does not give any details on what the future course of the company will be, but the sudden breakup seems to indicate that there have been significant differences in opinion between Chang and other people on the company’s board.
Recently we revealed that Chang had sent out a letter to entertainment industry representatives, looking for partnerships and licensing deals. In this letter he labeled some of RapidShare’s users as ‘criminals’ who would see their accounts terminated more rapidly.
According to Chang, RapidShare would be working on a changed course where they would focus increasingly at converting illegal downloaders into paid customers. Whether or not the plans described in this letter have anything to do with Chang’s sudden departure is open for speculation.
RapidShare’s founder Christian Schmid will take over business management for the time being. He is expected to announce several changes for the benefit of users in the coming weeks.