A lot of die-hard Skype fans worry that Microsoft’s acquisition of the company is going to change it, and not for the better. Yesterday’s news that Skype For Asterisk will be discontinued didn’t help, generating speculation that this action is a result of their impending acquisition.
Before we rush to declare the “Micro-Skype ApocalypseTM”, let’s consider a few facts.
Skype has two very similar competing offerings in market that will allow an Asterisk PBX to connect to the Skype Network – Skype for Asterisk and Skype Connect. One (Skype for Asterisk) sells for a very low one-time license fee, and the other (Skype Connect) sells on a subscription basis with additional charges for minutes of usage. Skype Connect must be dramatically more profitable than Skype for Asterisk.
Skype for Asterisk has issues that limit its use in business. For example, it can’t forward a call from the PBX without stripping caller ID. How do you build a modern call center without caller ID? Those in the know say that this is a limitation of the Asterisk channel driver, and not a Skype limitation. After all, Skype Connect doesn’t have that limitation. It appears that Digium may not have given the priority to Skype for Asterisk that it needed to be successful.
The business fundamentals don’t favour Skype for Asterisk.
Moreover, the agreement with Microsoft doesn’t come into effect until it has cleared regulatory approval. Skype would be foolish to make decisions about apparently important partnerships solely at the behest of their new owners before gaining regulatory clearance.
Granted, Microsoft competes with Digium. But business fundamentals, as opposed to Microsoft influence, are a far more likely reason for Skype’s decision not to renew the Skype for Asterisk agreement with Digium.
Sometimes it just makes sense to sunset a product that isn’t working out.
- Microsoft Kills Skype For Asterisk (slashdot.org)
- Skype Kills Off “Skype For Asterisk” – A Sign of the New Microsoft Era? (disruptivetelephony.com)
- R.I.P. Skype for Asterisk (skypejournal.com)