Stuart Henshall describes the impact of the PSTN interconnect that Niklas Zennstrom has been talking about. The impact is that there are suddenly 5 million softphone users who are dialing their friends at calling card rates, and urging them to get on Skype. If played correctly, it’s the next viral marketing play for Skype, and a huge problem for the upstart ITSP players like Vonage.
A couple of days ago, Brooke Schultz of Vonage stood up and challenged Niklas to interconnect with the existing ITSPs. A lot of people have a similar opinion to Brooke, which is that we should all rally around SIP, and that Skype is doing a bad thing by staying proprietary. They’re definitely breaking interop, but at the pace they’re going, why wouldn’t they explicitly choose to break interop as a strategy? With 12 million downloads, over 300,000 subcribers simultaneously online at most times of the day, and a claim of over 4 million regular users, Skypes numbers make the rest of the ITSP community’s posted subscribership numbers seem inadequate.
As the player with momentum, their strategy is obvious. Maintain momentum. Arguments from the SIP community centered on moral suasion are irrelevant.