Does Skype need to go Open Source to Survive?

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So Skype is revolutionizing the world of VOIP and Telephony in general.

With the launch of Skype-In last week where you can recieve calls to your Skype Software through a normal phonenumber, currently for 4 countries with plans to expand, businesses have the chance to save costs on handling internation calls in a big way.

Monopolies are Impossible on the Internet

At this moment, 2,3 Million people are logged in to Skype. From what i know, that sounds like a very very large set of all Voip users online at this moment. For Voip to really kick off though through the use of normal phones (Olympia Skype phones exists already) will the main engine for Skype have to be Open Source? If there is one thing that we've learnt from the internet, it's impossible to have a monopoly on a internet service.

So the question now is, do Skype go open source, and live off the extra services, orr will we have to use a large set of different phones/programs to call different people as everyone and his brother launch similar services?

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Who cares about Skype?

I've been using Skype for over a year. I like it but I doubt its future. Skype requires downloaded software and extra equipment (headset with microphone). It is not well known and it is not widely marketed. The average person is not technical and does not understand VoIP. The only benefit is that it is free for two geeks who have installed software and both have headsets. Also with Skype if you want to dial regular numbers you need to pay money.

There are already mainstream VoIP companies that are advertising simpler solutions. These companies allow the public to use their regular telephones without any extra work or knowledge needed. They hide the technical stuff of the backend, away from consumers so they do not get confused. I've seen this service offered as low as $20 a month in the US. Also these companies are marketing heavily in the US.

Why would someone care about Skype? For less than a dollar a day, you can have all of the benefits of VoIP without needing any knowledge or equipment and you can make and receive any call you want. You also don't need to turn your computer on to make a call :)


>For less than a dollar a day, you can have all of the benefits

Yes IF you live in the US. These services aren't available in all countries - Skype is.

Skype experience

We've been testing Skype for some months now, and while it is far from perfect, we've actually been able not only to slash our office-to-office local phone bills but improve our overall connectivity no end, too.

I was on a business trip to Singapore and Australia recently and, provided the connection was ok, Skype worked like a song (and saved us some stiff overseas phone fees in the process).

SkypeOut is a boon, too - while there may be some more competitive offers available, all in all it's very fairly priced and a breeze to use.

Obviously, if your connection is seedy, so is Skype, but that applies to all types of VoIP.

DualPhone may not offer the flashiest product on the market, but it's an excellent cordless hybrid solution allowing you Skype-to-Skype, Skype-to-landline, landline-to-Skype and landline-to-landline connections. (So does the Siemens Gigaset but at a higher price and a lot more cumbersome menu handling.) It allows jacking in a headset, leaving your hands free while phoning, which is more that can be said for all those other cordless handsets we've been using over the years.

Meanwhile, you'll also find adapters out there allowing you to tie your existing phone to Skype as well, so what more could you want?

We've recently signed up for SkypeIn (still in beta) and set up to U. S. phone numbers for our U. S. clients - and they're hooking up to this nicely, too. So from a business perspective, it's nicely paying for itself already.

Sheer coincidence, of course, that our number are sporting the same area code as Google ... :-)

Look around

Andy, if you don't find any such services available in your country yet I am very sure you soon will - unless that is, you live in some distant jungle tribe or something ... but I guess not, you are online here :)

distant jungle tribe

I do yeah, and so do a lot of other people!

I'm noticing a lot of people from third world countries using skype, and for them I suspect it is a real godsend.

over 90 million downloads

With that amount of interest in piece of software there must be some future in it. It is now available on Windoze handhelds and can be used in conjunction with WiFi connections. I read somewhere that a lot of the emergency services use skype as a back up communications system (but then again, they used to use webphone and that went under). I have to believe that there is a future in the software....


Did you guys hear about Teleo? Possibly Skypes biggest threat right now...

Maybe ...

... but offhand I'd say they still have quite a way to go: no adapter for regular phones yet, same outbound rates like Skype but more expensive on the inbound service, plus of course the "Teleo Who?" effect.

Still - always good to see some competition around when you're on the consuming side.


I don't understand why the success of skype is necessarily tied to becoming open source. Is it not possible to use voip phones with the service?

There is also an excellent piece of software that is written by the original author of autocad called speakfreely. It's great for use between known endpoints as an intercom. There are also open source versions of complete centrex replacements that will allow you to set up extensions, call forwarding, voice mail, hop forwarding, night lines. You get the idea. You can replicate the push button hell of the biggest company on your server :)

BTW, hi to all. Actually, this is a thinly veiled excuse for writing an introduction post.I couldn't figure out how to use the "introduce yourself thread" as there was no posting link.

The reason I joined instead of lurking was the number of user names I recognise from "that other board". Nice to see where you all disappeared to. Much more relaxed here don't you find?


centrex followup

Here's an idea.

If enough members here from around the world set up voip centrex boxes, you could essentially have a world wide telephone footprint. Or at least inbound lines around the world. These centrex boxes have tie ins to your real landlines.


Welcome PS - it's located here:

You probably found an old one, we're on #3 now :) at the end of the previous two, you'll find a link to the follow on - go have another go if you like, it's my favorite thread heh...

Open API

Maybe Skypes Open API might help here. There's a lengthy post on Skype reaching the tipping point here pointed out by Om

One very important thing is happening with Skype at the moment: up to now Skype was a propriatory application in a walled garden. But Skype seems not to repeat the mistake Apple did to stay in this walled garden. It is slowly opening up. The first step was providing an API allowing third parties to add applications and this is now going an all over the place, both in SW and in HW. One example is the Pulver Communicator allowing you to make both SIP and Skype calls, so I use the Pulver Communicator (but Skype is running underneath - sticky!).

Got mine todayand happy with it

DualPhone may not offer the flashiest product on the market, but it's an excellent cordless hybrid solution allowing you Skype-to-Skype, Skype-to-landline, landline-to-Skype and landline-to-landline connections.

Seems to offer a lot at a fairly low price (about $150 in the UK for that hardware). The main weakness right now is that although you get landline to landline, it is not using the power of the web. For that you need to buy local numbers, 30 euros a country per year to get max benefit - and local numbers are only available in limited number of countries (includes UK and US, but not Germany or Spain)

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