Skype: the 'œwow' started 5 years ago
Skype has closed down, as of the 1st of September 2008, the “Skypecasts” service, which let up to 100 people talk on a conference call, free of charge.
Skype says the quality of the service is the reason why the service has been shut down, but Skype also promises that it will bring the service back in the future. The announcement was made on the 28th of August, the day before Skype’s 5th birthday, and the Skypecasts page now says that Skypecasts are “unavailable”.
User comments at the August 28th announcement shows some Skypecast users quite unhappy about the closure after more than two years of service.
But having read one user’s account of issues they were experiencing with the Skypecast service, it seems unsurprising that Skype has decided to work on improving the service and re-launching it in the future, no matter how annoying that might be to some existing users who will have to find an online alternative instead.
Some Skype users were unhappy that High Quality video calls were restricted to Logitech web cams only. Skype did promise to allow other users other webcam brands to tweak their video quality settings higher, something fellow iTWire writer Stuart Corner uncovered back in November 2007, but I don’t know if that has happened as yet.
Skype have also been held back by mobile phone companies from allowing video calls over mobile versions of Skype, although that's for obvious reasons - they don't want to miss out on video call revenue, low as it already is.
There's also the lack of Skype text messages using the Skype "iSkoot" software, so telcos don't lose out on the ultra profitable SMS revenue, although the 3 Skypephone does allow Skype text messages to be sent.
Another niggle I’ve personally discovered, although it's really a positive, is that you must ensure the people you’re talking to on Skype are using the latest version for the best sound quality.
That said, upgrading to the latest version is usually a good idea, especially when you’re talking about something like Skype, with the existing 3.8 version having promised a leap in voice quality over previous versions.
There was also criticism that eBay paid too much for Skype, but in that “5 years of wow” Skype blog posting, its author Josh Silverman notes it has had “6 consecutive quarters of profitability, and over $500M annual revenue run-rate”.
Silverman also says Skype enjoys a “super-charged platform from which to keep innovating, questioning the status quo, and fighting on behalf of people everywhere to set the world's communications free.”
What else do Silverman and Skype think of the future? Please read on to page 3.
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