Now that Microsoft has bought Skype, calls for the creation of an open source Skype Killer are starting to be heard. They’re delusional. There’s only one Skype, and only likely to be one Skype simply because the protocol is closed and the momentum behind Skype is enormous. That’s why Microsoft bought them, instead of trying to make MSN Messenger into a Skype killer.
Richard Stallman himself is suggesting that many alternatives to Skype already exist. He points to a list of GNU projects all built around SIP, which is the open standard that provides similar services to Skype. SIP, however, has never achieved the ubiquity, or momentum in the market that Skype has.
In a communications product, which depends on network effects for utility, momentum is everything. It’s a virtuous circle – each new user brings a network of more new users. Skype has the momentum, and nobody else does.
Can you say “tilting at windmills”, children? I thought you could!
In beta since March of last year, Skype Connect (formerly Skype for SIP) is now officially launched. The purpose of Skype Connect is to allow companies to connect corporate phone systems to Skype, letting customers who use Skype contact the company via an IP call, and allowing the company to take advantage of Skype’s cheap outbound calling rates to make outbound calls. According to Skype, some 2400 companies have been using the beta since last year.
We have been using Skype Connect to allow customers to connect to Calliflower conference calls via Skype Connect since late 2009. Four reasons we use it:
- The service is solid, and the voice quality is excellent (it’s Skype, after all).
- Skype Connect allows us to service customers in countries where we simply can’t obtain local phone numbers – China and India for example.
- The price is excellent. At $6.95/mo for unlimited calling, per channel, it’s very affordable.
- Skype Connect is a flat rate price per channel, like Calliflower’s flat rate pricing. It’s affordable, low risk, and easily forecast.
- Our customers love it! Since introducing Skype calling to our customers in January, usage has steadily ramped. Today, Skype callers represent 11% of our volume, growing by an average of 16% every month.
Oops… that’s five reasons!
Interested in finding out how good Skype Connect really is? Click here to call Calliflower from your Skype client. You’ll be suprised.