There has been fascinating soul searching on the web these last few days as the "failed experiment" called Skype is dissected by the whole world. Wall Street has belched up numbers, and concluded that EBay over-paid. Bloggers are busy micro-analyzing the various failures, and offering advice. Me, I'm in the Jeff Pulver camp. No matter how you look at it, Skype has been a remarkable achievement. 200 million users have downloaded the application, and use it somewhat regularly. "Skype Me" is common parlance for many individuals. Every telco in every jurisdiction worldwide has a Skype strategy, and for most of them it has involved dropping prices in order to compete. Consumers won handsomely.
No, Skype isn't a failure. By most definitions it's a roaring success. The failure was EBay's when they paid so handsomely for a business that was dedicated to sucking the profits out of a bloated telecom industry. Skype's business plan was to take less money from consumers than a telco would for the same services. What were they expecting? What Skype hasn't done is live up to its potential. The platform which many hoped would emerge from the momentum of Skype — the Voice 2.0 ideal of voice as an element in all applications — appears to have been sublimated to the needs of EBay's balance sheet. The potential for Skype to utterly dominate voice in this new world has not yet been realized.
There's still time. Nobody else has come close to what they've accomplished.