Tilting at Open Source Windmills

by alec on May 18, 2011

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:

  1. The service is solid, and the voice quality is excellent (it’s Skype, after all).
  2. Skype Connect allows us to service customers in countries where we simply can’t obtain local phone numbers – China and India for example.
  3. The price is excellent.  At $6.95/mo for unlimited calling, per channel, it’s very affordable.
  4. Skype Connect is a flat rate price per channel, like Calliflower’s flat rate pricing.  It’s affordable, low risk, and easily forecast.
  5. 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.


Skype embraces SIP; announces beta service for business users

March 23, 2009

Skype made a very welcome move this morning.  Their announcement of Skype for SIP beta simply means that PBX owners will be able to accept incoming calls from SIP users, and make outgoing calls using the Skype network to terminate them.  Jim Courtney has many more details in his post titled Business Long Distance: Death […]

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SquawkBox – July 9, 2008 – P2PSIP – Guest: David Bryan

July 9, 2008

Does Peer-to-Peer (P2P) SIP represent the future of SIP communication? Does it have the possibility to enable the creation of a peer-to-peer communication cloud that could rival Skype but be based on open standards? Where would P2P SIP fit? In an enterprise environment? consumer? What’s the technology behind it all, anyway? Today’s Squawk Box was […]

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SquawkBox – Tuesday, July 8, 2008 – WiFi in cars and wearable computing

July 9, 2008

Do we really want to turn our cars into rolling WiFi hotspots? Will this be a boon to the “always-on” culture or just yet another source of driver distraction? And do we really want wearable computers that involve us answering a phone by sticking a finger in our ear? On today’s Squawk Box we’ll journey […]

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The real value of VoxCall? Not knowing…

November 24, 2007

A few days ago I wrote about Voxalot's new VoxCall application for Facebook. Since then, a number of people have contacted me using VoxCall.  Invariably, the quality has been superb.  For example: Yesterday, Andy Abramson called me.  He called from the Nokia N810 via WiFi.  WiFi SIP to VoxCall SIP to Truphone SIP and then onto the […]

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Walks like a telco, talks like a telco… must be a telco.

September 26, 2007

Vonage's latest woes are written up by Om Malik in Vonage: How Low Can You Go.  More interesting than Om's reportage (Sprint wins case, Vonage ordered to pay damages, stock drops to $1.30) is the commentary afterward, in which one reader takes Om to task for the "gleeful" way in which he reports the demise […]

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Mercator Capital on MSFT Unified Communications

July 7, 2006

Mercator Capital has made the Microsoft (MSFT) Unified Communications announcement a feature of their July newsletter.  Titled “Microsoft Unified Communications Strategy – Going Forward or Backwards?” they praise Microsoft for articulating a strategy, but then note that they are behind when compared to other solutions.  They single out iotum as an innovator (thank you!).  Mercator is […]

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It's All About Identity

June 28, 2006

I have the distinct impression that Rich Tehrani had the same briefing from Communigate that I did.  He certainly seems to be as excited.  He has been talking up the idea of a unified SIP address (what Communigate calls SIPifying the world) in order to deal with the proliferation of addresses we all have. On a […]

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Sipifying the World With Communigate Pro 5.1

June 22, 2006

For the last few weeks I’ve been learning about Communigate and their products at a pretty mad rate. I was introduced to them by the folks at Versature, who have been using Communigate for some time as the foundation for their services. Communigate is one of the unsung stories of the VoIP world. From their […]

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