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Skype vs Apple–is video the catalyst?

In “The Sunday Morning Reflections on Game Changing TechnologyAndy Abramson digs into what’s going on in the video space. You can summarize what he’s saying as “with Facetime, Apple could remake the video conferencing space”.  He lays out a number of scenarios where applications like Webex and GoToMeeting are shared with video via an airplay link.

So where does that leave Skype?  Skype has:

  • One big gap on iPhone – the lack of video (and consequently desktop sharing).
  • One huge advantage over Apple – install base.  Because they’re on so many devices, they can bring a much larger audience to bear more quickly.

If I were in Skype’s shoes, I’d be hustling.  The vision Andy lays out is compelling, but Skype has to catch up to Cisco and Citrix quickly.

When Apple launched Facetime Steve Jobs made promises to open up the technology, but to my knowledge it hasn’t happened yet.  Would Apple still look on an effort to create a cross platform video conferencing solution which embraces iPhone positively, or negatively?  Do they have the appetite to shoot that big themselves, or would they leave it for third parties?

{ 1 comment… add one }

  • stuart henshall November 29, 2010, 2:00 pm

    I wrote these scenarios up months ago – starting June 7th. See this collection on my blog. http://www.henshall.com/tag/facetime/ on Facetime.

    I don't see the Skype base as all that loyal. Frankly it's a whole lot easier to get someone on FaceTime than Skype if you know they have it. Skype is more than likely not to be on…. while FaceTime is on the mobile always on… and doesn't need booting up to be available on a Mac once installed.

    The iTunes base may be larger than Skype. While video is / remains tied to a small group of close friends and family we only have to wait for an iTunes update to install FaceTime everywhere.

    Think the registry question will matter when it moves to enterprise. Perhaps with the next iPad which is certain to see FaceTime although this provides some camera / holding challenges.

    Phone screen sharing is also inevitable. As is desktop. Simply too useful. While it remains a little "broken" that's a good place to be with a disruptive innovation.

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