May 20th of last year I wrote about execution and Skype’s strategy. I didn’t imagine how successful they would be. The last eleven months have been an unbelievable period for Skype. 100 million users, 96 million of whom have been added in the last eleven months! Martin Geddes over on Telepocalypse has written what is bound to be a controversial piece. It can be summed up as “SIP is dead. Skype has won.” He writes:
You can also view Skype in two very different ways. A recent Analysys report talks about the class of “Private Voice Applications”, of which Skype is an example. This is a node-centric view of the world — Skype the PC software application. But looking through the other end of the telescope, you can view Skype as a virtual network — just at the application layer, divorced from transport.
This takes us to a more familiar realm. Suddenly we start to see all those familiar network-centric terms and issues crop up — interconnect, termination charges, roaming, vertical integration — and have some more clues as to how Skype might gain market power and their business model evolve.
Of course, that’s absolutely right. Skype has created a virtual network. Although there are interconnect agreements and termination agreements in place, so far they have largely duplicated the function (if not the form) of the existing carrier networks. What we haven’t seen yet are new services.
To be fair, they seem to be moving in the right direction. The Skype API has made it very easy to add new kinds of end points to that network. Now we need services APIs to add new capabilities to the network itself.
Skype is, in essence, building an operating system for communications.