Skype Journal Test

Saturday, August 30, 2008

i looooove being a girl!

i looooove being a girl! by you.

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Friday, August 29, 2008

took fax and desk phone off the front

took fax and desk phone off the front by you.

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good old skype

good old skype by you.

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creepy chick

creepy chick by you.

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skype is dead

skype is dead by you.

Uh, in a good way!

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free recorder for skype video?

free way to record skype video? by you.

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Skype hates me. :(

skype hates me by you.

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sibling bonds

sibling bonds by you.

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freaking

skype is freaking cool by you.

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going to malta

going to malta by you.

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my mom nearly cried

my mom nearly cried by you.

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woo hoo!

woo hoo! by you.

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Dan York: Skype's 5 Years of Disruption

OK, so it's the fourth post this week where I've referenced Dan York. But over the two years I have known Dan I have to say he is, in my view, one of the most respected authorities on the technology behind today's communications revolution. Yet he also understands the value of the user experience.

In celebration of Skype's fifth birthday Dan has written the most thorough post yet on Skype's accomplishments and how it has changed not only his life but also the communications market space he works in. He starts out with a personal reminder (along the lines of many of the "What Skype Means to Me" posts that Phil has been coordinating):

I had a personal reminder of that the other day when I wound up in a video chat with one of my closest friends who was my best man at my wedding 12 years ago. Although we have spoken in the intervening years, we had not actually seen each other in probably most of 10 years due to living far apart. He and his wife emailed a group of folks that they now had a Skype ID. I added them as a contact, opened an IM chat and wound up calling them... and then moving into video and seeing them both. It was a powerful moment - and a great reminder of the power of Skype to easily connect people.

Articulating his contribution to our Skype discussion on yesterday's SquawkBox, Dan then goes on to talk about the many unique aspects of Skype:

  • How Skype Disrupted Technology
  • Skype "Just Worked"
  • Wideband Audio
  • Secure VoIP
  • P2P VoIP
  • Voice First
  • Multi-Modal Communication
  • PSTN Interconnection
  • Cheap Calls
  • Challenging SIP and Open Standards
  • Persistent Chat - with History
Dan goes on to discuss some of the imperfections and bumps that Skype has experienced over the years and the need for the new executive team to express its vision for the future. (Although Josh's "liquid communication" term is an appropriate description when I look at the variety of ways I can converse currently via Skype over my PC's, Blackberry, Nokia N-series phones, Sony mylo, Nokia N-800 tablet, Skypephone).

Last week at Rogers' Blackberry Bold launch, RIM's Director of PR pointed out how, during the famous patent lawsuit, settled over two years ago, enterprise IT managers were seeking out alternatives to the Blackberry, should a court injunction force disruption of the Blackberry service in the U.S. This turned out to be one of the best "zero cost" marketing tools RIM has ever had. The IT managers could all report back that the only total solution to their mobile communications needs was indeed Blackberry. (And will remain so, in spite of iPhone's success.)

So show me another multi-modal, secure, archiving, interconnected conversation platform that provides all the features above in a user-friendly means and that can deliver all the user experiences posted on Skype Journal over the past few days and I'll stop being a Skype Cheerleader. (But, going forward, the Skype team still has to earn their way ... and will.) Yet I'll also be a cheerleader for anyone else who delivers beneficial user experiences with access to over 40 million ongoing users.

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peer pressure

last living soul by you.

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now i have a phone number in my parent's home town

now i have a phone number in my parent's home town by you.

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old people and aliens

old people trying to use skype amuses me by you.

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Skype for Daleks

i have a dalek voice effect by you.

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Cyprien Lomas: What Skype means to me

On the occasion of Skype's fifth birthday, Skype Journal will publish a series on "What Skype Means To Me." You are invited to email your essay or short thoughts to editor@SkypeJournal.com.

Cyprien Lomas is the Director of The Learning Centre in the Faculty of Land and Food Systems at the University of British Columbia. I first met Cyprien at the annual Northern Voice blogging conference held in Vancouver.

Skype is the communication application that is most likely to work. It is a star behind the types of firewalls that I encounter in schools and other semi-hostile environments on the road. Skype seems to be able to punch through and connect to the net where other chat apps are unable to.

Skype also promotes that serendipitous contact with long lost friends, relations and enemies - no matter where they have ended up. I love Skype because it is the best tool to connect with people on other continents.

Happy Birthday Skype!

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SquawkBox Discusses Skype's Fifth Anniversary

Over the past few months I have been a frequent participant on Alec Saunders' daily SquawkBox conference call where several of those involved in following today's communications and web developments will discuss topics of the day. Subjects for yesterday's call were the impact of the Internet on this years U.S. President campaign and Skype's fifth anniversary today. Participants included Dan York of Voxeo, James Body of Truphone, William Volk of MyNumo (one of the more successful iPhone Apps developers) and Jonathan Jensen amongst others. The Saunderslog post is here.

The Skype discussion commences about half-way through the call. The one universal agreement was that Skype has succeeded because of the user experience. You can build all the communications technology you want but unless people can get all the way through the setup and readily make a call, people will not use it routinely. And the discussion highlights the importance of getting the Skype 4.0 user interface right but starting with some experimentation that challenges all of us to think through how to set up and manage a multi-modal conversation experience.. Some comments from the SquawkBox discussion:

  • James Body: participating in a discussion at a smoke-filled bar in London with Nicklas just after Skype launched: "this proprietary thing will never work because it does not use SIP". James then goes on to point out that if Skype had not had the success it has achieved, Truphone may never have been funded to the level they have obtained.
  • Alec Saunders: basically it was the first VoIP-based service that "just worked".
  • I then discussed my memories of watching the Quarterdeck team develop WebTalk back in 1995 - and how our CEO of the day drove the engineers to make it work on 50MHz (not 50 GHz - a slip of the tongue) Pentium PC's and over 14.4 kbps modems. But the overall infrastructure was just not there to let it become viable as a consumer in the 1996 time frame.Yes, having widely deployed broadband was one major contributor to the timing element that helped achieve Skype's immediate success. (I did have WebTalk running over a 56kbps modem on a 100MHz Pentium but it was challenging to carry on a conversation. Yet a few small businesses did adopt it.)
  • William talked about the importance of usability. "Just because it - VoIP - works is not enough. Users are fickle. You will lose a significant number of users at each step where the process of installing and completing a call may fail. The user experience is everything."
  • Dan York the security expert amongst us, got into a discussion of how Skype worked when offerings such as NetMeeting and CU CMe just did not get significant traction. Firewall traveral across NAT - a major failing of SIP, the first true high quality wideband codec, and Skype's inherent security are all features that impressed Dan.

But listen to the recording via the link/player on the Saunderslog post to get the full story, especially helpful for Skype employees involved in the Skype 4.0 beta.

And Happy Fifth Anniversary to Skype from all of us on the call! There are many challenges ahead as Skype liquifies communications - we look forward to the next generation of Skype under its new executive team. And thanks to the iotum team and SquawkBox producer Alec Saunders for making such a conversation feasible

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Harry Potter Secrets

Harry Potter podcast by you.

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Letter to the Editor - Reconsider Skypecasts

August 27, 2008.

To whom it may concern.

It appears Skype has decided to end all SkypeCast as of September 1, 2008.

Skype we believe is an International Company owned by EBay.

We your clients, and supporters of your company, are devastated by your decision to stop SkypeCasts.

This action, has been a decision that will affect your standing in the industry; simply put it is a terrible decision that affects millions.

Letters are already being sent to the International Press and Television stations and Radio stations.

We your supporters and clients feel very strongly about this terrible decision.

In USA we the people are contacting our Congressman and our Senators, this decision by your company has affected millions of people in this country, and many other countries.

Your supporters feel this action, is one which should be reconsidered by your board of directors and your President and CEO. 

Your Skype published statement, makes a comment, that you are sorry for this inconvenience, that this may cause your clients using SkypeCast.

Surely there must have been an error in judgment in contemplating this action.

Inconvenience is not the description that should have been used; this is a disaster of international importance.

Many students as of this moment are using SkypeCast to teach the skill of English reading and speaking.

We have listed some of the countries from which our students have come to participate in this project.

More than 50 different countries supply students for this particular project.

Algeria, France, Germany, Spain, Columbia, Mexico, Albania, Korea, Japan, Indonesia, Ukraine, Russia, Africa, Finland, Denmark, Morocco, Holland, Australia, Austria, Georgia, Saudi Arabia, Tunisia, Albania, Turkey,  Philippines, China, Moldavia, Egypt, Poland, South Korea, Poland, Finland, Denmark, Italy, Greece, Brazil, Thailand, Canada, Indonesia, Belgium, Peru, Libya, Vietnam, Hungary, Taiwan, Switzerland, Venezuela, Malaysia, India, Pakistan, Qatar, United Kingdom.

Personally as an English Teacher I and other co-teachers have instructed 651 students in a SkypeCast called English Lessons.

Involved in this English Lessons project which started in January 2008 and involved five hours of instruction every day.

Thanks to the dedication of many people, which included a host from Indonesia , teachers from Brazil , Russia, Ukraine, Egypt, China, United Kingdom, Poland, U.S.A., Bavaria, Germany, Greece, Australia.

Our project and the people involved are devastated.

Sincerely

English Lessons   jwhite6787@msn.com

See also:

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Josh Silverman on Skype's next five years

Skype CEO Josh Silverman wrote Five Years of Wow, Happy Birthday Skype - smallreflections on Skype's history and promise. About the future...

When I think of the future, I think of Skype as liquid communication. Instead of being condemned to a frozen shape like the telephone, it will flow into any device whenever you want and wherever you are. And, like water can turn into ice or steam, Skype can shift its form to match what you need at the moment: from voice to video to IM to SMS to filesharing.

Skype blurs the line between the real and the virtual. It bends space and cuts through time. Today, when a conversation wants to be had, technology is not the bottleneck. But technology isn't the goal either. There's no question in my mind about what stands at the heart of the communication revolution. So, as we celebrate the first five years of Skype, let's raise a toast to the human desire to connect.

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world peace and harmony

a new mic does the trick by you.

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Michael Bartlett: What Skype means to me

On the occasion of Skype's fifth birthday, Skype Journal will publish a series on "What Skype Means To Me." You are invited to email your essay or short thoughts to editor@SkypeJournal.com.

Mike Bartlett is Skype's Director of Windows Product Management, working from London.

Having worked at Skype for over 3 years, sometimes you forget the human power of communication. I had a powerful reminder of it a few months ago.

My girlfriend's father moved to Australia last year and she had not seen him since. I gave her a webcam and told her all about video calling. She was sceptical. She thought it would be weird. Well… she was, quite literally, in tears after her first call with him. Her two sisters down in Cornwall (which is on the south coast of England) actually got a broadband subscription just to make video calls after hearing about it.

So I was sitting in their lounge, it was quite late at night (those pesky time zones) and there were the three daughters kneeling on the floor huddled, around the laptop in their dressing gowns having a video conversation with their father and their two half-sisters who were getting ready to go to school in Australia. If you could see the smiles on their faces and hear the laughter, the giggling and the excitement then you'd know how amazing I felt sitting on the sofa watching this, knowing that I've played a part in bringing these emotions to millions of people around the World every day.

I can picture that scene clear as day, and that is what Skype means to me.

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Zennie on CNN before #DNC08

Skype-recorded CNN interview by you.

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Alternatives to Skypecasts

While there has been lots of dismay about the discontinuation of Skypecasts (Skype's blog posts: here and here), it had appeared for the past several months that the service just did not have the robustness to provide the reliability and quality of service that users would expect. Being a free service, it was obviously placing resource demands with zero revenue potential on Skype developer and support personnel that hopefully can be diverted to bringing feature equality to Skype's basic service, whether on Windows, Mac or Linux.

There are alternatives; in fact, this decision provides a unique opportunity for two third party conference calling services:

1. Skype Multi-Party Calling:

For up to 25 participants on a call, Skype has recently expanded its multi-party calling capacity. The caveat here is that the host must use a multi-core Windows PC and a reliable broadband internet connection (preferably cable). Participants can be on any version of Skype or be accessed via SkypeOut. In this case the host must set up the call and call out to all the participants. More details here. A unique feature of Skype's multi-party calling is its ability to show which participant is actually speaking at any given time. But keep in mind Skype really offers multi-party calling, not a full conferencing service.

2. iotum CalliFlower

iotum's CalliFlower has the benefit of no charge other than whatever it costs to make the connection to one of their access points. I often participate in their daily SquawkBox call via my SkypeOut account; the recent availability of SkypeOut CallerID, displaying my mobile phone number when I make a SkypeOut call, has allowed me to participate in these calls within my SkypeOut subscription without even using the provided password for each call. In fact, there are four options for accessing these calls:
  1. Truphone VoIP: A PC, a headset and an internet connection puts you one click away from your conference call.
  2. Phone: Dial from anywhere in the world to one of our U.S. or French dial-in numbers to get connected.
  3. Skype: Call our U.S. dial-in number from within the Skype network, and get high quality audio.
  4. Sitofono call back: Enter your phone number and get called back for free in more than 12 countries
SquawkBox participants regularly call in from the U.S., Canada and U.K. but there is really no country-specific limitation The real gem of CalliFlower is the web-based user interface where participants can see who is on the call, raise a hand, enter text on a "wall". The host can record the call for later playback, mute/unmute participants as well as set up the call, invite participants via email and SMS, and put up the subsequent recording.

As an example of building communities, iotum has worked with Alan Hunkin to provide a weekly interview session, CalliFlower Communiques, with notable personalities such as William Shatner. Immediate future guests include Ken Blanchard, author of "Being a One Minute Entrepreneur" and actor Alan Alda discussions his recent memoir "Things I Overheard While Talking to Myself." Recordings of previous sessions are available at the page linked above.

3. HiDef Conferencing

Vapps' HiDef Conferencing (formerly HiSpeedConferencing) provides high definition (HD) voice quality calls for participants accessing via Skype. Their business grade service involves fixed rate monthly hosting subscriptions involving unlimited Skype access, dial-in to specific numbers in several countries and toll-free numbers. Obviously this involves some ongoing expense to the host but their infrastructure supports providing the best possible voice quality, depending on access mode. The host uses their web controls to set up calls, manage call participants as well as record and archive calls.

Looking at the options it appears the best conference experience comes when:

  • hosts are able to setup and fully manage the calls, including an open access invitation;
  • users can participate through a web-based experience not only via voice but also via chat.
The good news is that Skype provides either free or low cost unlimited access to any of these services. What will be most interesting is to see if iotum and/or Vapps rise to the opportunity here and and is able to provide encouragement to the many communities that were supported by Skypecasts.

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Skype rulez!

Skype rulez! by you.

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Three big milestones in Skype's fifth year

Skype's fifth birthday is 29 August. As we count down, two huge milestones changed Skype's future in the last twelve months.

The bad one happened last month.

29 July 2008

BT buys Ribbit
natural monopoly
talk for all onlives

1. BT purchased Ribbit.

Ribbit is the platform play Skype might have been. They are ready to start scaling. And now they have the money, customer base, telecom core, and international operations to reach their potential.

Ribbit seeks to become a natural monopoly for the web's talkification.

Like Skype, Ribbit worked for years to build a software and network infrastructure that combines user computers, phone networks, commerce, social networks, and the Internet.

Skype treats voice like an application, where you control the user experience to control the end-customer relationship.

Unlike Skype, Ribbit thinks of voice as a feature. Features belong in other applications. Developed by the six million people who design and code software. People who solve problems in every country, in every culture, for every situation.

And those people don't work for Ribbit.

Or BT.

They are in the wild. Out of control.

Both BT and Ribbit are happy with that. 

Happy not to control the user experience.

Happy not to control the customer relationship.

Once upon a time (a few world wars' ago) the phone company provided your phone. One model. And it was black.

Then the phone company became a carrier. And you could use whatever phone you liked. Even pink ones for princesses.

Today you can get your Skype any way you like it, so long as it is Skype's user interface.

Ribbit will let you get your phone any way you like it. Period.

Made by anyone who can code.

That's what it means to have a public platform culture.

And Ribbit is bringing that culture to BT. And BT is grooving on it.

The race to add talk everywhere heated up.

The frog is no further ahead in the race, but Ribbit now has the fuel to execute on its vision.

And Skype is catching up but remains far behind.

Ribbit/BT is far from the only company building and selling web talkification infrastructure, but they are one of the few with customers, with funding, and a with a compelling architecture.

Exactly how many talkification infrastructure APIs will programmers learn? That's how much room there is in the market.

 

3 March 2008

"Thank God for Skype!"
-- Oprah Winfrey

2. Skype Sponsors Oprah's "A New Earth" Web Event.

Some people are more influential than others. And then there's Oprah Winfrey.

"Thank God for Skype!"

You can't believe what Oprah's unpaid endorsement and personal enthusiasm has meant to Skype in the United States. http://skypejournal.com/blog/images/Oprah.ANewEarth.Video.jpg

Name recognition is up.

Anxiety is down.

Use is up.

Producers Skype speakers into the studio.

Reporters Skype from the field, including the Democratic and Republican conventions. 

People drag their social networks onto Skype. Friends and family and workplaces don't want to be left out. 

No mention of VoIP, not even of voice, just video calls. Video became the reason you use Skype.

This was a breakthrough moment in Skype's last hold-out market. The ice has been broken.

How will Skype continue the conversation with the United States and Canadian publics that Oprah started? 

 

1 October 2007

free from buyout cuffs
visionaries innovate
skype breathes free again

3. Niklas Zennstrom Steps Down as CEO of Skype.

This was a great thing for Skype.

It broke the bonds eBay put on Skype.

They didn't mean to, but when eBay offered Skype's founders US$1.7 billion if they hit sales and census targets, eBay forced a myopic tunnel vision on the company.

Any new hire, new feature, new product, new partnership needed to advance sales, to advance user adoption. Any new idea or opportunity, no matter how strategic, that didn't meet that payout test starved for management attention and resources.

So the Skype products didn't change much for two years.

eBay paying off the founders and writing down the purchase left Skype with a fresh start. Free to innovate and reengineer. Free to respond to competitive threats from phone companies (like BT). Free to experiment and examine Skype's underlying purpose and value.

Proof?

Look at the new Skype directory. Hybrid web service and rich client.

Look at how the new Skype 4 beta client is running on top of a Skype for Windows 3.8 engine, further separating UI from services, the way you must to deliver talk via browser. 

Look at Skype hiring leaders from outside the phone carriers with street cred at Evite and Motorola.

Look at the coming Skypecasts service retirement.

Each of these decisions speak to a company liberated. A company becoming decisive and thoughtful in its direction.

Very good for Skype.

 

To recap:

A bad day: Skype isn't even in the paradigm-shifting race to talkify the web

A good day: Skype's US and Canadian markets are warming nicely in Oprah's glow

A great day: Skype freed from golden shackles.

 

Doesn't year six look interesting?

 

See also:

  • Video of Ribbit's Crick Waters describing the Ribbit platform ("the voiceware economy") at the Emerging Communications Conference earlier this year. 20 minutes.
  • Video of Trevor Baca of Jaduka at eComm. Jaduka offers much of the same infrastructure.
  • CNN Joins Oprah; Puts Skype in the Picture

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Raving faculty

i miss being that excited by you.

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dad almost found out

dad almost found out

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Endurance

Endurance by you.

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Ian's parents

my mother is not internet literate by you.

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Weekend reading

Skype for email? - can the p2p architecture that works for Skype be applied to email?

Skype Emoticons Club - drawing tool for emoticon art.

Evoca drops free service. For an annual fee, add Evoca to a Skype conference call and it will record the call, up to 180 minutes. You can download the mp3 or order transcripts.

C-SPAN reporters used Skype video to cover spots in and around the Pepsi Center at the Democratic National Convention this week. Jerky video (low frame rate) but added coverage.

Skype alumni are funding Inkspin1, bringing Skype calls onto your home television screen. Hat tip to Ray Crowley.

Skype turning off Skypecasts 1 September 2008. Fantastic long comment list. And a follow up from Skype.

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Thursday, August 28, 2008

Ellen Sander: What Skype means to me

On the occasion of Skype's fifth birthday, Skype Journal will publish a series on "What Skype Means To Me." You are invited to email your essay or short thoughts to editor@SkypeJournal.com.

Ellen Sander is a screenwriter and music journalist.

Skype has for years been an important connection in my life.

When I lived in China, it was my line to the outside world. Today in business, my colleagues across the U.S. and I can have conference calls with attendees in excess of what our respective telephone services allow.

But most importantly, I can video chat with my two year old grandson, who lives 500 miles away. I heard him say "Gamma" for the first time on Skype. This helps keep our family in touch and together.

I can have total freedom of communication...for free. How wonderful is that? Around the world, or around the corner, Skype keeps me connected. Thank you, Skype.

Happy Birthday!

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Blogger interviews Julien Decot, Skype's director of strategy

This is a candid interview of Julien Decot by Jeremy Berrebi. Here are the questions, with some help from Google French-to-English translation.

  1. What's the secret to your success in working at the world's leading net jobs?

  2. Some figures on Skype?

  3. Version 4.0 has been released. What are the main objectives?

  4. What about the quality of Skype? Is it possible to further improve the quality of voice and video?

  5. How will Skype be in 3 years?

  6. What is the main competitor of Skype? Which one can take more shade to Skype in the coming years?

  7. What is happening with Skype on mobile? Will you offer a Skype application on iPhone?

  8. Do you think cell phones will be integrated into VOIP offers from three major french operators in one year? If so, obviously must we expect a minor webmobile revolution, be it in Blackberry or other iPhone?

  9. If I remember rightly, one of the objectives of the acquisition of Skype by eBay was the integration of Skype on eBay ads and using Skype as a means of payment for small transactions. What about these two projects excited you at the time?

  10. What's up with the payment between accounts via PayPal? Is this function properly used?

  11. When will you be creating Skype shops powered by Zlio [an ecommerce service]?

  12. Is there an advantage for Skype to be part of a group like eBay?

  13. Is the future of Skype in the enterprise?

  14. When will we see premium services such as "Call Management Center" in Skype?

  15. Why does Skype not open its source code? (thus easing integration with professional CRM applications)

  16. In newer versions, can a company deploy Skype without risk of using its full bandwidth (supernode)?

  17. Why is Skype green?

  18. Is Skype is ready to sponsor "blog words" podcasts by Presse-Citron made via Skype conference?

  19. My feeling (purely an impression, I do not know the facts) is that Skype cruised for a number of years now, especially with the democratization of the "box" (that Free pioneered). Is the company aware of this phenomenon and how to account react? What is the future, what are the new challenges for VoIP?

  20. Why not integrate (stop me if I say silly things if it is already) a function of recording audio conversations directly in the software without needing to use plugins (paying…). To make Interviews, for example, I remember having encountered this problem some time ago. Is this a legislative problem?

  21. What is the real business model and how does Skype think it will monetize these future products / services?

  22. The turnover of Skype must move from 60 to 200 million dollars [quarterly] (says the press). What areas of development have you chosen to achieve them?

  23. Will Skype move to "free" calls to fixed lines (in France, Europe and other countries) as the free ISPs currently offer Skype with 60 minutes free per month? SkypeIn free?

  24. What do you think of Loîc Lemeur's Seesmic project and do you see an advantage? an opening?

  25. What's going on with the integration of video platforms into Skype?

  26. Will we soon be able to post a video conversation on YouTube immediately with a single click?

Just a select few answers.

Stats...

It was officially 338 million users around the world.

The last quarter, about 29 million people across the world opened a Skype account.

It represents more than 5% of any long-distance communications throughout the world

Last year it made income of approximately $ 400 million. The last quarter, our turnover has increased by 51% over the same quarter in 2007 while generating a double-digit profitability.

Good to be in eBay?

Absolutely. Skype is now much more professional thanks to its integration into eBay. And at multiple levels: IT, Systems, HR, Legal, Finance, eBay has enabled Skype has become a global company with process, a world level team, while retaining the agility of a large startup. For example, PayPal has been a crucial partner to help us improve our system of payment on a global scale. In the same way, eBay has enabled us to attract top level talent at all levels. Our CEO is from eBay, for example, as are many members of the team Skype at all levels. Finally, and most importantly for us, eBay provides us with its unwavering support in this period of expansion and investment that we live at this time.

About Skype and enterprise bandwidth...

I can tell you that we have deployed Skype through eBay, or about 17000 employees throughout the world. At Skype, we rely almost 100% of our communications on Skype. From this point of view, we think Skype can already apply in the field of business, it's so secure. Each day we learn that large new accounts seek to deploy Skype on a large scale.

Competition...

We think firstly that the growth of Broadband is a good thing for us. From a strategic point of view, the rise of "triple and quadruple plays" will also push us to differentiate ourselves faster and not content ourselves to be less expensive. Hence the importance of video in our strategy, and to provide Skype beyond the computer on the mobile and other platforms. For example, we are already integrated on the Sony PSP and we are working with Intel in their Mobile Internet Device (IMD) platform.

My questions, following up...

  1. How do you reinvigorate Skype's five-year-old brand?

  2. How has Skype changed as a company since the founders left?

  3. What capabilities might Skype buy through M&A?

  4. How do you frame the opportunities for cooperating with legacy telcos (like the Skypephone alliance with Hutchinson/3) vs. competing with them (like US telcos lobbying congress for protection against Skype)?

  5. Skype's technology architecture has built-in strengths and weaknesses which let it grow to this stage. What technologies must change for Skype to grow ten times in active users and usage?

  6. What is Skype doing to talkify the web?

  7. Are Skype's underlying technology prerequisites for (midband access, fast cpu, multicore cpu, desktop OSs that reserve resources for media apps, high end webcams, consumer routers that enable vs. hinder Skype) growing fast enough to support growth?

  8. How are web services and platforming (think Ribbit) changing consumer VoIP?

  9. Enterprise IT has a long checklist of features they demand, features they see in Cisco/WebEx and Microsoft products. Will Skype comply, increasing product complexity, integrating into enterprise telephone, billing, and identity systems? Or will Skype remain a team-level product?  

  10. Skype rose to fame on an instant messaging design. Which post-IM UI metaphors make sense? How many designs can one team support?

  11. Human customer service is expensive. Does Skype have a paying customer service problem?

  12. If Skype picked up 29 million new users in the last quarter, how many existing users stopped using Skype last quarter? Beyond the 29 million, how many people used Skype in the last quarter?

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Brough Turner: What Skype means to me

On the occasion of Skype's fifth birthday, Skype Journal will publish a series on "What Skype Means To Me." You are invited to email your essay or short thoughts to editor@SkypeJournal.com

Brough Turner is CTO of NMS Communications. In the 1990s, Brough was a leader in PC-based telephony and contributed to the emergence of VoIP technologies, products, and standards.

Skype was a revelation – now love and disappointment.

When I first tried Skype in early September 2003, it was a revelation. First it just worked! I don’t mean it installed and executed properly – many software packages do that. With Skype, I could make voice connections through our corporate firewall, despite our IT department blocking all UDP traffic. Now that was a breakthrough.

Next it combined IM and voice in a useful fashion, something no one else had done at that time.

Finally, it used wideband audio! Skype connections were better than “toll quality.” Assuming adequate broadband, Skype audio beat anything else. I recall an early conversation with a friend in Tokyo. There was music playing in their apartment and it felt like I was in the room with them.

Today I use Skype on a daily basis for business and with friends, but almost always with people in Europe or Asia. It seems Skype’s adoption rate in the US is much lower. Also, mobility trumps presence. For US associates, I can use whatever IM reaches the desired party and then call them on my mobile. There’s no per minute charge for mobile calls (within the US), so all that matters is what IM the other party is using.

I continue to love Skype’s voice quality, especially given the diverse accents of some of my friends and associates. J and I routinely use SkypeOut and Skype voice mail.

The disappointment? They stumbled. The eBay acquisition meant a nice chunk of cash for the founders and early staffers, but no synergies, and in due course the founders were gone.

Communications services need critical mass. But other instant messengers have grown their user bases more rapidly – certainly QQ and likely Windows Live Messenger. This afternoon, there were 11-12 million Skype users on-line (10.5 million right now) while QQ had 37-40M (admittedly mostly Chinese) users simultaneously on-line. Skype is not enough for my IM needs. To see status for the people I communicate with, I have to run four IM clients at once.

Looking back, initiatives to increase their user base or wrap other instant messengers might have been better than the focus on video (which I seldom use). Looking forward, I dream of the day I get integrated mobile IM and voice that just works, everywhere.

For now, I’m encouraged that current Skype management seems to have their eye back on the ball. And I still love and use Skype with those friends (disproportionately European and Asian) who are routinely available on-line.

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Recent Skype Executive Interviews

A couple of recent interviews on other weblogs - one in English, one in French

Jonathan Christensen, GM for Video and Audio, is slated to be a keynote speaker at IT Expo in two weeks. As a leadup Rich Tehrani, President and Editor-in-Chief at ITExpo organizer, TMCnet, interviewed Jonathan. Nothing earthshaking but includes some views on the overall communications market evolution, especially the role of mobile phones:

RT: How do you see the communications market evolving?
JC: Communications is rapidly shifting from “hard-wired / hardware” to software-centric experiences. Communications is moving from dedicated devices on circuit switched networks (i.e., landline, GSM, Fax, etc.) to IP-connected multi-purpose computing platforms (i.e., PCs, iPhones, etc.).
Juline Decot, who came to Skype as Director of Strategy from eBay back in March, originally comes from France and has given an interview, in French, to Jeremie Berrebi, an Israeli entrepreneur and French language blogger whose current startup, Zlio, is financed in part by Skype's pioneering financier, Mangrove Partners. The Google translation here provides the flavor of the interview; but "chat" should remain the same (it's been mistranslated as the French word for "cat") and "voix" should translate to "voice", not "vote". As I said the Google translation gives the "flavor"; there are a few other questionable but amusing translations.

Bruce Wang: What Skype means to me

On the occasion of Skype's fifth birthday, Skype Journal will publish a series on "What Skype Means To Me." You are invited to email your essay or short thoughts to editor@SkypeJournal.com.

Bruce Wang blogs from Shanghai, China, on content syndication, instant messaging, digital ID, and social media technologies.

Skype is a daily tool I can't live without.

Skype is a perfect way to share ideas with a group of friends instantly,  no matter where they are.

I use it at my office with my colleagues,
with my friends at NPO groups/conference,
with my wife when we live in different cities 3000km away

Thank you Skype and happy birthday!

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Alexander Hager: What Skype means to me

On the occasion of Skype's fifth birthday, Skype Journal will publish a series on "What Skype Means To Me." You are invited to email your essay or short thoughts to editor@SkypeJournal.com.

Alex Hager is a law student, couch surfer, and amateur photographer in Vienna, Austria.

Skype helps me to stay in touch with friends and family, no matter where I am, whether I travel or stay at home. Besides enabling me to hear and see loved ones, I use it to practice different language skills.

I still am euphoric about the fact that I can reach my contacts from everywhere, using some Internet café and my thumbdrive or my own laptop, and all of this (nearly) for free. In my eyes, Skype is best when it comes to online community, friendships and family.

Happy birthday, Skype! Go on like this!!

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Petr Silon: What Skype Means To Me

On the occasion of Skype's fifth birthday, Skype Journal will publish a series on "What Skype Means To Me." You are invited to email your essay or short thoughts to editor@SkypeJournal.com.

Petr Silon is Managing Director at xTel Ltd which runs Skype Hardware shop in the Czech Republic.

Opportunity. My Business. New friends. Everyday communication tool. Cool thing.

I use Skype daily nearly for five years. I started with Skype 0.8 beta version and shortly afterwards I first translated Skype's user interface into the Czech language. I became a volunteer translator for Skype for Windows. I’m helping people use Skype and I’m happy that the Skype family is growing. I started to sell Skype hardware and accessories also and this became my full-time job. I enjoy it.

Thank you Skype!

In Czech:

    Petr Silon je ředitel společnosti xTel s.r.o., která provozuje obchod Skype Hardware shop v České Republice.

    Příležitost. Moje podnikání. Noví známí. Každodenní prostředek komunikace. Bezva věc.

    Skype používám skoro denně už 5 let. Začal jsem s verzí 0.8 beta a brzy jsem začal dělat český překlad Skype po Windows. Stal jsem se dobrovolným Skype překladatelem. Pomáhám lidem používat Skype a mám radost, že Skype používá čím dál více lidí. Začal jsem taky prodávat Skype techniku a příslušenství a stala se z toho moje práce na plný úvazek. Baví mě to.

    Děkuji Ti Skype!

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Alex Kazim: What Skype means to me

On the occasion of Skype's fifth birthday, Skype Journal will publish a series on "What Skype Means To Me." You are invited to email your essay or short thoughts to editor@SkypeJournal.com.

Alex Kazim, former President of Skype, is now CEO of Tokoni, a true life storytelling community.

Skype changed my world.

I was involved in the acquisition of the company and its management. But I worked through Skype. We used it extensively to manage Skype's offices in Tallinn, Luxembourg, London, Stockholm and San Jose. And I lived through Skype. I used it to spend time with my young kids every night, to see with my own eyes how much they changed each and every day as I commuted around the world.

I've since moved on from both Skype and eBay, but it's still very much part of my world. I use it to see my family when I travel. And we use it exclusively for Tokoni, my new startup, connecting our employees in the Bay Area, Seattle and Austin and even our testers in China.

But Skype changed a lot of people's worlds.

I still remember the South African mother who told me how thrilled she was to be able to see her grandkids after her daughter had moved to Australia. I remember coming home one day and having my young daughter look at me and the computer and wonder why I wasn't still in the little box. And I remember the story about how a mission in Africa was able to participate in the funeral of their Father in Atlanta. Live. As if they were there.

Because that's really what Skype is all about. It brings us together. It keeps us connected. Even when we're worlds apart.

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IPEVO will give away a Solo Skype desk phone for Skype's birthday

Tomorrow, Skype will celebrate the launch of the first public beta five years' ago.

Honoring this, IPEVO is gifting a lovely Skype desk phone to one of the people who wrote a "What Skype Means To Me" essay for Skype Journal.

Deadline:

Midnight Pacific Thursday night, Friday Morning

Judgment:

We'll pick a name randomly from those who submitted entries to Skype Journal. Employees of IPEVO are not eligible.

How to enter:

Please email your essay or short thoughts to editor@SkypeJournal.com. Be sure to tell us how you'd like to be credited. While we don't take anonymous submissions, if you tell us who you are Skype Journal can publish your entry anonymously or pseudonymously.

Prize:

An IPEVO SO10 Skype Desktop Phone.

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Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Daksh Sharma: What Skype means to me

On the occasion of Skype's fifth birthday, Skype Journal will publish a series on "What Skype Means To Me." You are invited to email your essay or short thoughts to editor@SkypeJournal.com.

Daksh Sharma is an executive for online strategies at an IT consulting firm in New Delhi, India. Daksh follows social-media and web2.0 trends on The Marketing Blog.

"Common you don't know about Skype ? Are you kidding me mate?" That is my common reaction if I come across people who have not heard about Skype. Talk about ‘Voice’ and Skype is the first thing that comes to your mind.

The thing that I really like about is not that its free but the fact that its voice-quality is unbeatable. I am aware of multiple VOIP clients which have come and gone, however none has matched Skype.

As time has evolved, Skype’s feature set has quadrupled. We’re now witnessing different upgrades in Skype for e.g. group conference, video preview etc. Several third party applications are also extending Skype’s functionality. I can now access Skype on the go, thanks to fring mobile application. I can even access Skype through web-applications like imo.im which is really cool.

"Think Voice – Think Skype" that's the mantra of life for all of net-users out there.

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Wesley Fryer: What Skype means to me

On the occasion of Skype's fifth birthday, Skype Journal will publish a series on "What Skype Means To Me." You are invited to email your essay or short thoughts to editor@SkypeJournal.com.

Wesley Fryer is an educator, a digital storyteller, a technologist, and an innovator in bringing the three together. He is an alumnus of AT&T, lives in Oklahoma City, and is completing his doctorate in Curriculum and Instruction at Texas Tech University. Wes started Moving at the Speed of Creativity, his edutech blog, the month before Skype's second birthday in 2005.

Skype is one of the most valuable communication tools I have. Every week I now meet with different educators around the United States, and sometimes in different parts of the world, using Skype. As a co-convener for the free K-12 Online Conference it is impossible to imagine my life without Skype. Skype is the lifeline which connects us as conveners for our weekly meetings as well as many others in our K12Online learning communities.

In addition to these professional uses of Skype, I frequently use it to videochat with my family when I am traveling, and to connect my own children with their grandparents who live in other states.

Skype is one of the most powerful, transformative technology tools I've ever used. I can't imagine living my life and doing my work now without Skype.

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Midweek Skypeland news roundup

Expressivo text-to-speech reader plug-in for Skype. $49. Comes in female US-English, male and female Polish, and female Romanian.

Kara DioGuardi
Kara DioGuardi, new American Idol judge

Howard Greenfield interviewed me for ZDNet Asia on The Talkification of the Web. (Should I trademark "talkification"?)

UAE ISP du still blocks Skype, writes PC Magazine's Midddle and Near East edition. The Emirates has an effective duopoly with Etisalat the other ISP. Both du and Etisalat now block Skype as mandated by the Telecommunications Regulatory Authority, per Gulfnews.

The Yahoo! Messenger team hosted their first open chat workshop with users, part of a monthly educational Q&A series.

LinkedIn's company directory is up and running. White and yellow pages meet social proximity. Now add talk.

Jaxtr is promoting their low international rates. Using public data, Jaxtr says they are cheaper than Jajah, EQO, Mig33, SkypeOut, Truphone, and Rebtel in calls to the UK, Indonesia, Germany, Canada, Mexico, China, France and Pakistan. Often 10% to 50% less. Not sure how this compares to Skype's global or regional flat rates.

Marc Andreesen funds Qik. Qik streams live video from mobile phones to the web.

Music composers talk with concert performers and audience via Skype video.

Off topic: Kara DioGuardi to judge American Idol. Barack Obama's Daughters Wanted Jonas Brothers, Not Their Dad, Onstage At DNC. And the Red Sox acquire Kotsay from Braves

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Calley Nye: What Skype means to me

On the occasion of Skype's fifth birthday, Skype Journal will publish a series on "What Skype Means To Me." You are invited to email your essay or short thoughts to editor@SkypeJournal.com.

Calley Nye is a social media entrepreneur, a viral marketing expert, social media marketing consultant, marketing strategist, and recovering fashion model. Her blog, Silicon Calley, and her twitter stream capture the vibrant Los Angeles tech scene and Calley's adventures in startup life.

Hm, I have to admit that it was hard for me to answer this question. In a short time, Skype has made itself an integral part of my daily life. So I had to think about what my life would be like without it. Only then did I realize how important it has been to me in business, and with my family and friends.

I've only been on Skype for a couple months, since May, I think. The first time I used Skype was when a friend invited me into a chat with several friends. So I downloaded Skype, joined the chat, and met everyone. That chat is what made me start blogging. So, it's easy to say that were it not for Skype, I would not be where I am today.

Skype has been an amazing tool for business, helping me communicate with the community in Silicon Valley and San Francisco, from the comfort of my own home in Los Angeles. In that sense, it has opened me up to many opportunities that would not have been possible otherwise. Similarly, it has proven itself to be an amazing way to stay in touch with my family back in Connecticut. Sometimes I get really homesick, and talking to my family through Skype video makes me feel like I'm not missing so much.

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Evgeny Gorbarsky: What Skype means to me

On the occasion of Skype's fifth birthday, Skype Journal will publish a series on "What Skype Means To Me." You are invited to email your essay or short thoughts to editor@SkypeJournal.com.

Evgeny Gorbarsky is my counterpart at Skypeclub.ru, Russia's top, independent, Skype portal.

Skype means a lot in my life these days. Since skypeclub.ru was opened, Skype became not only my job, but the best hobby. It's great that our news and reviews help thousands of Russian Internet users get to know Skype and its potential.

The most pleasant part is to hear thanks from people that now can call their friends in other cities and abroad, from businessmen that can cut phone expenses and implement new means of communication at their enterprises.

I like to watch the development of Skype and watch new gadgets appear.

I like to test any Skype-device in my lab and present the results on my personal blog.

My partners and I do our best to deliver the most popular Skype accessories to the Russian users.

In Russian, Евгений Горбарский says:

    Сегодня Skype играет в моей жизни огромную роль. Со времени создания skypeclub.ru, он стал не просто моей работой, но и лучшим  увлечением.

    Я рад, что ежедневно наши новости и обзоры помогают тысячам российских пользователей  узнать о программе Skype и всех ее возможностях.

    Особенно приятно слышать слова благодарности от людей, которые, благодаря Skype и моей помощи, смогли  свободно общаться  со своими близкими за рубежом или в других городах, от бизнесменов, сэкономивших средства на телефонных звонках и внедривших новые схемы связи на предприятиях.

    Мне нравится следить за развитием Skype, за появлением нового интересного оборудования.

    Нравится испытывать  Skype устройства в моей лаборатории,  и рассказывать о результатах на страницах личного блога.

    Я и мои партнеры постарались сделать все, чтобы российским пользователям стали доступны самые популярные Skype аксессуары со всего мира.

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Dimitry Korolkov: What Skype means to me

On the occasion of Skype's fifth birthday, Skype Journal will publish a series on "What Skype Means To Me." You are invited to email your essay or short thoughts to editor@SkypeJournal.com.

Dimitry Korolkov works in marketing for Program-Ace LLC, a software house in Kharkiv City, Ukraine.

Skype is an ultimate excitement, which not only erases the borders and brings the whole world touch-close to you, it is an incarnation of the completely new reality of communications in a digital century. Universal, many-sided, friendly and really FUN!!!

For business, Skype opens doors and hearts of customers and partners around the globe and, at the same time, offers an incomparable variety of options and features, which “surprisingly” meet the expectations of users and the market in the most exact way. And sometimes, the product goes ahead of the needs and creates new possibilities.

In two words: Skype ROCKS!!! ;-)

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Dmitrii: What Skype means to me

On the occasion of Skype's fifth birthday, Skype Journal will publish a series on "What Skype Means To Me." You are invited to email your essay or short thoughts to editor@SkypeJournal.com.

Dmitrii is a psychology student at a Bulgarian university, sells advertising for a British newspaper, and is soon to be a father.

So, for me Skype is something very very special. It is the easiest way to talk with friends. For example, you are working all day and you don't have the possibility to go out with friends, but you are interested in what they are doing and how they are, you use Skype. You talk with them for free, you can see them, it's virtual of course, but it's not a big deal. :)

With Skype we can send and receive everything that you imagine: photos, files, music, film, everything. On Skype you can play some very funny games. In only two days, I was able to send fax by Skype.

And one of the privileges of Skype is that this is the best way to make business, the best program for companies. And nothing can be lost in Skype, because all the chat conversations are written because there is chronology.

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Tuesday, August 26, 2008

New Sony PSP adds mic for Skype

The Sony PSP-3000 will come with a built-in microphone 15 October 2008, Sony announced this weekend. So you won't need to carry headphones to talk. Small improvement, but a barrier to Skype adoption for many users.

From the news release:

To enjoy Skype on PSP, users will require

  • a Skype account,
  • Memory Stick Duo(TM),
  • a wireless Internet connection and
  • a Headphone with Remote Control (PSP-S140) or Skype-compatible headphones.

Users are recommended to speak closely to the microphone (approx. 10cm from the microphone).

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Maren Hogan: What Skype means to me

On the occasion of Skype's fifth birthday, Skype Journal will publish a series on "What Skype Means To Me." You are invited to email your essay or short thoughts to editor@SkypeJournal.com.

Maren K. Hogan is managing partner at HCI, Capital Management, for Humans.

Skype should be called Bridge, although that's not as compelling as the cool name SKYPE. But that's what it is.

It's a bridge from my children to their grandfather in New York, from my husband to his sisters and their families in Minnesota and from me to my clients around the world.

Skype creates connections between people who haven't yet met, forming bonds through facial expressions, shared chats and calls that don't break the bank. Skype also help people identify themselves as current, accessible and friendly, which is a lot for simply signing up through a service!

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