Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Could Skype now move to honoring standards?

Looks like E-Bay has managed to sell Skype, or at least 65% of it. Never did make much sense to me why they bought them in the first place. I guess there was thinking at one time it would give buyers and sellers a way to communicate. They never really implemented that.

I know a lot of people swear by Skype. I know people in the US with family and business contacts oversees. Skype makes it affordable for them to stay in touch. Several years ago while my family did an archaeological dig in England, it cost me $2.48 a minute via AT&T to talk to them. With Skype, today, it would be twenty-one cents a minute.

In March a study showed Skype handled 8% of international calls. That is more then AT&T. Think about that a moment. A piece of software has seriously undermined the bread and butter of what was once one of the predominant corporations on the planet.

This internet thing is sure causing some upheavals, isn't it?

One thing I could never understand was why Skype didn't take their predominance and partner with other disruptive influences in the voice market. Companies like Asterisk who have a software only PBX software, or Google and their Google Voice. Together they could have re-engineered and replaced the entire telephone space. Asterisk recently came out with a link to Skype, but I think efforts like it were without the cooperation of Skype and thus harder and more kludgy then they needed to be. That's my impression anyway.

And Google Voice links to the standards compliant Gizmo5.

That's been one of the pet peeves about Skype. Much of the rest of the VOIP market tends to work together using SIP standards, but Skype has always gone it alone.

One of today's purchasers is Marc Andreessen. As an undergraduate intern, he co-authored Mosaic, the first graphical web browser. His work begat Netscape, Firefox, Internet Explorer and more. His company Netscape was known for honoring web standards. Could this mean Skype will now move to honoring standards?

If they did, it could mean the largest VOIP platform could begin to integrate with other advances in the space.

Someday, your grandchildren may look up from their history books and ask "You really once paid a company just to let you talk to someone else?"

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