One of the biggest issues I’ve had with Skype was it’s inability to scale and work with other VoIP platforms. Then, along came a nifty SIP to Skype service from SIPphone – which Google promptly killed when it bought the company. New hope of interoperability came with Skype for Asterisk. Now it would seem the new Skype overlords at Microsoft have killed it.
Skype for Asterisk will not be available for sale or activation after July 26, 2011.
Skype for Asterisk was developed by Digium in cooperation with Skype. It includes proprietary software from Skype that allows Asterisk to join the Skype network as a native client. Skype has decided not to renew the agreement that permits us to package this proprietary software. Therefore Skype for Asterisk sales and activations will cease on July 26, 2011. (Digium)
Does this mean Skype will be less open in the future? Probably. Will it be less useful? Probably not if you can live within the limitations of a Microsoft universe.
Skype for Asterisk had stalled the adoption of competing product in corporate America and beyond. Now that it’s no longer supported, I think we’ll see renewed interest. Ironically this single event could be just what was required for open source projects like Jitsi to reach critical mass. While the jury’s out on whether the Skype buy is a boon or just Ballmer’s latest boner, it has clarified the need for more open alternatives.
Literally. ABC has decided to end two of the longest running shows on television — All My Children and One Life to Live. Yes I know, their soaps, not real shows. If you have ever watched the series Mad Men you understand the nirvana it is for an advertising exec to have a multi-decade relationship with a company. Well Hoover and a firms like P&G and Palmolive are examples. Well Hoover has launched a multipronged attack against ABC –
Unhappy with ABC’s plans to cancel One Life to Live and All My Children in favor of lifestyle programming, longtime advertiser Hoover is sucking all its ad dollars away from the network.
Announcing the decision on its Facebook page, Hoover’s vice president of marketing writes:
To all the loyal ABC soap fans,
I want you to know from me personally that we hear you loud and clear. My wife and mother are both passionate viewers of All My Children and One Life to Live, as are many of my colleagues here at Hoover. We were and are as disappointed with this news as you are.
In fact, we will discontinue our advertising with ABC this Friday, 4/22. We’re making every attempt to pull our spots from these programs sooner.
Now lets consider, soaps are a chunk of American life past and present. That some lay scorn just denies the fact that this art form still has millions of followers around the country. A relative by marriage was hooked on them. Heck even my dad was addicted after being laid up in the hospital for a month.
The Hoover action is just a reflection of what is going on in channel based broadcasting. The art form is not dying but it competes with the likes of Ophrah which many consider more hip. Tho in a sense that too is a soap opera. It just uses real live people instead of actors.
But I think the advertisers like Hoover are missing the boat here. Why not form a LLC with the likes of Lever Brothers, Procter&Gamble, etc. Buy up the shows and the production companies from the those networks willing to sell. Then turn right back around and offer those shows on Hulu and as network syndication with their targeted ads. Guaranteed audience shift and a near exclusive for those in the ‘club’.
Opportunity sometimes masquerades as adversity.
Here’s a big Third Pipe salute to the Electronic Frontier Foundation for taking on a patent troll. While the major beneficiaries are the big Telco’s it does show a third party can step in an correct some of the patent offices incompetence. In the absence of rational oversight from the ambulance chaser club called Congress, this kind of action may be the best hope for freeing innovation from tort. I hope EFF will exercise equal zeal the next time AT&T or Verizon uses a little patent trolling to squelch competition.
The Electronic Frontier Foundation is claiming an early knock-down in its ongoing fight to strip a small Florida company called C2 Communications of a VoIP patent EFF calls bogus and that C2 has invoked to pry payments out of major U.S. carriers such as AT&T, Verizon and Qwest.
There a few notes floating around the ‘Net that Google is testing bits and pieces of Google Voice internally. Even rumors that a possible upgrade to GMail may include a Google Voice client popup –
The new feature will allow users to make voice calls over the Internet and it’s likely that it won’t be limited to Gmail. In April, TechCrunch reported that Google “built a Google Voice desktop application to make and receive calls” and that the application is tested internally. Google used technology from Gizmo5, a VoIP service acquired by Google last year.
For now, Google Voice’s integration with Gmail is not publicly available.
A Google Voice VoIP service with land line tie in? The consequences are rather formidable –
As a technology this is not earth shaking, its just VoIP. But if Google follows their usual — free basic, paid premium scenarios — it is a massive realignment of the VoIP space as a business. It would also portend a serious challenge to the big three wireless carriers. A smart upstart could offer a unlimited data plan coupled with Android/GMail/Voice/SMS and blow their competitors voice/data plan pairings out of the water. (Hear me out there T-Mobile??)
This is a dark swan for telecom.
You must appreciate the remorse I have when I read this –
When Google acquired Gizmo5, a Skype competitor, in November Google Voice users rejoiced – presumably they’d be getting a much needed soft phone on the desktop for users to make and receive calls through Google Voice.
We confirmed that the application had been rewritten and was being tested internally at Google in April. Some Google employees continue to use the app, we’ve confirmed.
But don’t expect it to launch publicly any time soon, we’ve heard from multiple sources. Why? an internal religious debate about desktop software.
Google founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin don’t want Google to be in the business of creating software outside of the browser, say our sources. And that’s consistent with Google’s product launches over the last several years.
Of course it ignores the efforts that Google is putting into developing their own Chrome browser, Chrome operating system and Android operating system, as well as a variety of mobile apps – all are software that installs on computers or mobile devices.
But there may be a hard line when it comes to pure desktop apps like Google Voice. So the team has been sent back to the drawing board to try to make a workable soft phone that will work entirely within the browser using HTML 5.
So the upshot is, it ain’t gonna happen this year or next. Damn! Apparently part of a religious war internally. Personally I think this is a bad move on Google’s part. There is only so much you can do with Search. But with telephony, when you can do it big, there are all sorts of avenues where not only is search manifest in telephony use but it provides yet another source of revenue apart from search. Smart companies diversify income streams.
I need a scotch…..
Update II :
Ok, so my scorecard was only half right! The upshot is, Google Voice is out of the Labs and into the wild! Wow. Integrated with Google Mail? Nope. I want that, but the fact that I can freely sign up for Google Voice without the invite is a good start.
Will be a busy weekend. Have a few clients that want this integrated into their websites. Loving it. The current release of GV won’t however put Google in the MaBell business however. It depends on an existing phone line to operate. But merely as a call director it has many uses for lots of people.
While we await the results of Google knitting together it’s Google Voice, Grand Central and Gizmo5 services into a single vocie and messaging platform, Skype is moving ahead to take market share with new super cheap rate plans.
Skype Wednesday confirmed new monthly call subscription plans that, according to Skype, bring down the costs of Skype-enabled Internet calls even further. In addition, according to one report, Skype has a long-sought group video chat function in the works that it plans to test as a public beta as early as next week.Skype users have been asking for customized subscription plans that reflect how often they use the service, according to the company. Under the new plans, users can preselect countries they want to call, what types of devices — mobile phones or landlines or both — they want to call, and then what subscription plan to buy into.
The new subscription plans cover 170 countries and will launch Thursday. According to Skype, the plans, which start at $1.09 a month and offer call rates as low as 1 cent per minute to any of the 170 countries, come in one-month, three-month and 12-month calling increments and 60-minute to unlimited time increments. Skype claims the plans will save users as much as 60 percent of what they pay for Skype’s existing Pay As You Go rates. (Channelweb)
While Skype’s closed, proprietary protocol has locked it out of the generic hardware device market, the company has continued to grow. Connecting calls aross oceans is a good short tern tactic for growing the company’s business. The big threat to Skype comes in the for of SIP, an open protocol used by most of the world’s VoIP providers and notably, Google’s Gizmo5.The openness of SIP opens the development of widgets or apps on new 4G mobile devices open to almost anyone. The investment required to maintain and grow a proprietary network to compete with free and open could cripple Skype in the future.
Much of the wireless industry has been resisting pretty strongly the idea of giving up the voice channel as a revenue stream. Fact what they are resisting is the concept that voice is just another piece of data. For example, almost a year ago Apple disapproved a Google app that permitted VoIP on the iPhone at the insistence of their AT&T transport partner.
Ok, but then what can you do about this? –
More time laughing with friends.
Less time in front of a computer.
Take free, unlimited Skype-to-Skype calls and IM on the go with your BlackBerry® or Android™ 3G smartphone from Verizon Wireless.
Yeah, its a shill quote right off the Skype site. But that is not what matters here. What is, is the fact that Skype/Verizon are putting a shot across the bow of every other vendor out there as it relates to voice minute charges.
Now of course there is a down side. That Skype call is now a data rated call. Which if you look at Verizon’s data rate plans is not a bargain in comparison. So for the consumer it is not a block buster cost saver. But this opens the door that voice is just another chunk of data. I would be inclined to look at T-Moble’s unlimited data plan for this Skype service. Get one of their Android phones and see what happens….
But the door is opening. Might take a year or two for folks to catch on but eventually there will be a data rate war in the wireless arena as voice channel services are dropped by consumers.