Skype Journal Test

Thursday, August 28, 2008

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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