Friday, December 16, 2005

I never 'got' Skype

The hoopla anyway.

Sure, its a fine product - but jeesh, what mileage its received in blogs and the press. Well beyond its value IMO. I always kinda thought of it as the Tucker - some great ideas, even industry influencing; but was never going to be what the owners, and press, thought.

Reason #1 I didn't drink the Kool-aid: Its still just voice. We've been talking over the Internet on our PCs for years now - sure Skype-out was new, but not revolutionary.

Reason #2 I didn't drink the Kool-aid: Its proprietary. Yes, they say that standards inhibit innovation - they innovate, then submit for standards approval later. OK, but I just saw it as yet another "who's IM do you have?" problem. Why re-create that mess? I'm on Yahoo, my buddy is on AOL and I have to jump through hoops to talk between them. Its a mess, and Skype was re-creating it all over again. Bah!

(obviously voip peering could help solve this, but proceed to #3 on why that won't matter.)

Reason #3 I didn't drink the Kool-aid: It was irrelevant unless they made some real moves towards becoming a complete portal (same goes for Vonage, Lingo and others - more on this in a forthcoming post). Voice is going to be a service (already is?) integrated into your 'portal'. If I have all my contacts, calendar, email, and IM with Yahoo - why would I not use their voice as well? If you don't have a portal, you aren't a long term player - period. Skype was not a portal; still isn't, but at least with eBay they could grow into one - if eBay 'gets it'.

So, people wrote way too much about it (and I'm adding to that now - shamefully enough), eBay paid way too much for it, and it will hardly be a footnote in the migration of voice to packet-based delivery. And if you look at #3 again - you'll see that I think Vonage and others will likely follow the same path into irrelevance (and yes, I'm a Lingo customer anyway - for now).


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