& cplSiteName &

Skype's Still Talking to Itself

Light Reading
News Analysis
Light Reading
2/7/2006
50%
50%

Now that it's owned by eBay Inc. (Nasdaq: EBAY), Skype Ltd. may be close to reversing its long-held policy of not allowing its VOIP calling and instant messenger services to work with other IM and VOIP software clients.

A Skype spokeswoman told Light Reading last week that Skype was holding discussions on the matter both internally and externally. Another spokeswoman later said this VOIP client interoperability, known as "federation," is "on the radar screen" for Skype but not around the corner. (See Google, Skype Back WiFi Startup.)

But each time the company is asked, the answer gets more vague. "The number one consumer request for interoperability is with the traditional phone network," says Skype marketing VP Saul Klein in an email to Light Reading.

"Skype created SkypeOut to address this growing consumer need; we also consider interoperability in other areas but are primarily driven by consumer demand,” Klein writes. (See Skype Extends Its Tentacles.)

If Skype does decide to allow Skype users to talk to other PC-based VOIP clients, it could boost the number of PC-to-PC calls exponentially. In turn, all those calls would be traversing the Internet, skipping all the old phone networks.

Today, Skype users can place PC-to-PC VOIP calls only to other Skype users. Here's why: The accumulation of high numbers of loyal users has always been critical to Skype's business case. (See Does VOIP Business Add Up?) Skype says 74 million people have now registered to use the service.

But the PC VOIP landscape has evolved since Skype was bought by eBay last September. Pressure may be mounting at eBay to make Skype play nice with other services so as to enable more transactions over its auction sites. (See Google, SIPphone Hook Up.)

Skype's appeal didn't go unnoticed by the likes of Time Warner Inc. (NYSE: TWX)'s AOL, Yahoo Inc. (Nasdaq: YHOO), Google (Nasdaq: GOOG), and Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT)'s MSN, which are all offering their own flavors of IM/VOIP. All are working with third parties to connect with the PSTN, as Skype does though its SkypeOut service. (See Google Clicks to the PSTN?)

But Skype's rivals have done one thing Skype won't do -- they've joined forces with potential competitors. MSN and Yahoo Inc. (Nasdaq: YHOO) announced in October that the two companies' IM/VOIP clients would interoperate. (See MSN, Yahoo Link IM Services.) In late December, AOL and Google announced their IM/VOIP clients would do likewise. (See AOL/Google: VOIP Buddies .)

The RBOCs are beginning to choose sides, too, with millions of potential IM/VOIP users at stake. Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE: VZ) will soon market a service with Microsoft called "MCI Web Calling for Windows Live Call." The product consists of Microsoft's new IM/VOIP client -- called Windows Live Messenger -- and PSTN connection through MCI's global network. The service is now in beta, but Verizon spokeswoman Bobbi Henson tells Light Reading it will be marketed to Verizon customers later this year.

AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T) claims to support all the major IM/VOIP services, but has marketed Yahoo broadband services in the past. The carrier didn't respond to requests for comment on this story.

EBay agreed to acquire Skype for $2.6 billion last September, and now seems to be solidifying initial plans to leverage the property. (See Is Skype Worth $3B?) Most recently, eBay announced it would distribute ringtones from Warner Music Group with the Skype softphone. (See Skype, Warner Music Team Up.)

EBay has also said it will build Skype into its auction service such that buyers and sellers can quickly exchange information in the waning minutes of online sales. (See EBay/Skype: A Non-Friction Play.)

That plan, analysts say, could be made that much sweeter if any VOIP or IM client could be used to complete a transaction. And, as Skype's rivals begin to interoperate, the pressure is put on Skype's users to decide which service is easier to use when making cheap calls or connecting with merchants.

"All Skype has is voice and IM -- there's no content, there's nothing driving you to stay there," says VOIP analyst Jon Arnold.

"The more those guys have what Skype already has, the harder it's going to be for Skype to continue along this path," Arnold says.

— Mark Sullivan, Reporter, Light Reading

(1)  | 
Comment  | 
Print  | 
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View        ADD A COMMENT
materialgirl
50%
50%
materialgirl,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 4:06:56 AM
re: Skype's Still Talking to Itself
As always in the past, "open" seems to mean "if I set the standard", ala MSFT. Perhaps Skype wants to open the Internet to communication, as long as Skype controlls the game. When everyone opens up Skype, it may not feel as good.
From The Founder
Kicking off BCE 2017, Light Reading founder Steve Saunders lays blame for NFV's slow ramp-up and urges telecom to return to old-fashioned standards building and interoperability.
Flash Poll
Live Streaming Video
Charting the CSP's Future
Six different communications service providers join to debate their visions of the future CSP, following a landmark presentation from AT&T on its massive virtualization efforts and a look back on where the telecom industry has been and where it's going from two industry veterans.
LRTV Custom TV
VeEX at ANGA COM

6|27|17   |     |   (0) comments


At ANGA COM 2017, Cyrille Morelle, president and CEO of VeEX, updates Alan Breznick with VeEX's new products and technology. This includes VeSion cloud-based platform for network monitoring, AT2500-3G advanced spectrum analyzer and MTTplus-900 WiFi Air Expert module. He also comments on DOCSIS 3.1 deployment and Remote PHY technology.
LRTV Custom TV
The Overall Objective Is to Win the Game

6|26|17   |     |   (0) comments


SCTE•ISBE's Chris Bastian discusses Energy 2020's success to date and the importance of a flexible approach that allows for changes in specific strategies in order to reach significant milestones.
LRTV Interviews
CenturyLink: Let's Get Past SD-WAN Hype

6|23|17   |   04:02   |   (0) comments


Technology becomes a "shiny object" unless it's properly focused on solving business needs for enterprise customers, says Bill Grubbs, network solutions architect for CenturyLink. He explains to Light Reading why SD-WAN deployments have to be tailored to specific needs – and more.
Women in Comms Introduction Videos
Infinera's Sales Director Paints Tech's Big Picture

6|21|17   |   4:14   |   (1) comment


Shannon Williams, Infinera's director of sales, shares how she achieves work's many balancing acts -- between her role and the broader company, today and tomorrow's tech and more.
LRTV Custom TV
SD-WAN Innovation & Trends

6|20|17   |     |   (0) comments


Versa CEO Kelly Ahuja discusses with Carol Wilson the current status and trends in the SD-WAN market, Versa's innovation around building a software platform with broad contextualization, and the advantages that startups can bring to the SD-WAN market.
LRTV Interviews
Ovum's Dario Talmesio on 5G in Europe

6|20|17   |   02:16   |   (0) comments


At 5G World 2017, Dario Talmesio, principal analyst and practice leader on Ovum's fixed and mobile telecoms European team, explains the emerging trends amongst European operators as they prepare for 5G.
LRTV Custom TV
Putting Power on a Pedestal

6|19|17   |     |   (0) comments


ARRIS's John Ulm says a major accomplishment of SCTE•ISBE's Energy 2020 program is increased focus on power cost and consumption, including inclusion of energy requirements in operators' RFPs and RFIs.
LRTV Custom TV
Gigabit Access: The Last-Mile Pipe for All Future Services

6|19|17   |     |   (0) comments


A Gigabit access platform being deployed today must be able to deliver all types of services to an increasing number of devices. A non-blocking architecture is necessary to support the ever-increasing growth in bandwidth demand. The Huawei Gigabit access solution is based on a distributed design that is fully scalable to deliver a unprecedented performance.
LRTV Custom TV
Key Factors to Successfully Deploy an SD-WAN Service

6|19|17   |     |   (0) comments


As service providers transition their SD-WAN solution from trials and limited deployments into production at large scale, there are important considerations to successfully operationalize these solutions and realize their full potential, without adding complexity, introducing uncertainty or disrupting current business operations. Sunil Khandekar, CEO and Founder ...
LRTV Custom TV
IoT Solutions: Rational Exuberance

6|19|17   |     |   (0) comments


IoT solutions are morphing from hype into viable business opportunities. Huawei has the platform and ecosystem support to help carriers successfully address new business opportunities in the IoT space.
LRTV Custom TV
Realizing ICN as a Network Slice for Mobile Data Distribution

6|19|17   |     |   (1) comment


Network slicing in 5G allows the potential introduction of new network architectures such as Information-centric Networks (ICN) as a slice, managed over a shared pool of compute, storage and bandwidth resource. Services over an ICN slice can benefit from many architectural features such as Name Based Networking, Security, Multicasting, Multi-homing, Mobility, ...
LRTV Interviews
Ovum's Mike Roberts on 5G Uptake

6|19|17   |   04:08   |   (0) comments


Mike Roberts, research director for Ovum's service provider markets group, explains why he has boosted his 5G subscriptions forecast.
Upcoming Live Events
October 18, 2017, Colorado Convention Center - Denver, CO
November 1, 2017, The Montcalm Marble Arch
November 1, 2017, The Montcalm Marble Arch
November 30, 2017, The Westin Times Square
All Upcoming Live Events
Infographics
With the mobile ecosystem becoming increasingly vulnerable to security threats, AdaptiveMobile has laid out some of the key considerations for the wireless community.
Hot Topics
No Imagination: UK Chip Biz Goes Up for Sale
Iain Morris, News Editor, 6/22/2017
Does AT&T Deserve Time Warner?
Mari Silbey, Senior Editor, Cable/Video, 6/23/2017
Netflix's Lesson in Culture Expectation Settings
Sarah Thomas, Director, Women in Comms, 6/21/2017
Kalanick Steps Down as Uber CEO
Sarah Thomas, Director, Women in Comms, 6/21/2017
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed
BETWEEN THE CEOs - Executive Interviews
Following a recent board meeting, the New IP Agency (NIA) has a new strategy to help accelerate the adoption of NFV capabilities, explains the Agency's Founder and Secretary, Steve Saunders.
One of the nice bits of my job (other than the teeny tiny salary, obviously) is that I get to pick and choose who I interview for this slot on the Light Reading home ...
Animals with Phones
Live Digital Audio

Playing it safe can only get you so far. Sometimes the biggest bets have the biggest payouts, and that is true in your career as well. For this radio show, Caroline Chan, general manager of the 5G Infrastructure Division of the Network Platform Group at Intel, will share her own personal story of how she successfully took big bets to build a successful career, as well as offer advice on how you can do the same. We’ll cover everything from how to overcome fear and manage risk, how to be prepared for where technology is going in the future and how to structure your career in a way to ensure you keep progressing. Chan, a seasoned telecom veteran and effective risk taker herself, will also leave plenty of time to answer all your questions live on the air.