When I started using Skype more intensively about three years ago, I had been a heavy user of Microsoft’s MSN Messenger for several years. But about 18 months ago, I stopped logging into MSN Messenger; none of my contacts were there – or, if they were, they were also on Skype. As for GTalk, well I added a couple of contacts two weeks ago to test out GMail’s new voice and video chat feature, so now I’m up to ten contacts on GTalk – and they are also all on Skype. One person still persists in trying to reach me on GTalk these days … and my BlackBerry catches that – in background.
But when long time acquaintance, well respected blogger and former Microsoft employee Alec Saunders puts up a tweet as shown above, it has to be the ultimate complement to Skype’s pervasive worldwide presence.
When you have 370 million accounts (yes, I know there are only 30 to 50 million using Skype over the course of a month), one would suspect that market presence and user base size wins out over any technical disadvantage, such as the lack of XMPP compliance. Sort of places XMPP right up there with SIP – an excellent protocol for interop but it’s sort of like the tree falling in the forest – who hears it -at the end user level? And, both SIP and XMPP require business agreements between the linking service providers covering every connection, whether there’s revenue or not.
In the IM world, it’s a matter of who’s available for a conversation? Which service has the highest probability of being able to determine a contact’s availability and start a chat, voice call, share a file, send an SMS message or even do a (High Quality) video call? Which service has eight ways of seamlessly carrying out a file transfer?
Alec’s one problem in keeping current? He’ll have to go back to his BlackBerry to receive Skype IM messages via iSkoot. BlackBerry’s background processing capability becomes a very distinct advantage here in the smartphone market. When attending an event in downtown Toronto last night I received an important “good news” Skype chat message on my BlackBerry Bold, while looking up a website the speaker was referencing and following the Twitter feed of one of the organizers.
A more significant challenge for Skype is to generate the marketing that will attract all those of a younger generation (such as my daughter) whose “social networks” are immersed into MSN Messenger as their IM client.
In closing have a look at some of Alec’s followup Tweets:
In closing I should also mention that I like to use BlackBerry Messenger for its ability to bypass the Internet for messages that “just have to get there now!” via BlackBerry’s unique method for PIN messaging.
Update: An oversight on my part: of course Skype IM also has the hooks to allow Skype chat sessions to proxy as a client for other services. For a classic example check out Twitter4Skype.
Full disclosure: Alec Saunders is author of the Voice 2.0 Manifeso, which is proving itself out in today’s dynamic mashup environment – especially when it comes to Communications Enhanced Business Processes. He is CEO of iotum, whose Calliflower Conference Call service is currently being launched. And, much earlier in his career, he was DOS product manger at Microsoft Canada at a time when DOS’s memory management feature tried to compete with Quarterdeck’s QEMM and the author managed Quarterdeck Canada.
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