Friday, September 23, 2005

Believe the Skype

Now that Patrick Belton has come out of the Skype closet it's safe for me to do a bit of techno-evangelism. Get Skype. It's a cross between instant messenger and a telephone intercom and it's going to destroy the already-maimed traditional telecom companies.

Why Verizon allowed eBay to buy Skype instead of snatching it up for themselves is beyond me.


jomama said...

Indeed Skype is going to take the telcos down and a lot of other things.

On their web site they call it "disruptive technology".

I love it.

Greg said...

Since you've been getting flak from readers who don't like your Old Media defenses, let me express my surprise that you're such a huge fan of Skype. "Going to destroy the already-maimed traditional telecom companies"? I'm no defender of the legacy telcos, but this is beyond the blog boosterism of Jarvis and Reynolds. VoIM (voice over instant messenger) is indeed a cool technology and kudos to Skype for extending it past the IP network to traditional and mobile phones. Maybe Skype would have been a good purchase for Verizon, but its asking price was pretty far beyond what it had proved. It has tens of millions of downloads but no one's sure how many people are actually using it. As we've seen with Google Talk, which was preceded by PC-to-PC offerings from Yahoo and MSN, this is a field that's going to get crowded and Skype may not have the best long-term plans for monetizing it. And as we're seeing with the FCC kerfuffle, VoIP carries with it a host of complicated and expensive regulatory issues associated with the social obligations of the telcos. Verizon, News Corp. and other likely buyers might have been worried the added regulation would have outweighed their ability to profit from it. As a complementary voice service - not intended to replace an existing service - eBay might be able to actually increase its volume of business with little additional outlay. It's likely the telcos will move to an all IP backbone, as BT is doing now, but acquiring the standalone IP telephony providers may not be their cheapest route.