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back to article Skype founder quits

Skype co-founder and chief executive Niklas Zennstrom has quit his job running the eBay-owned IP telephony outfit day-to-day. In an SEC filing, also today, eBay said it would take a $1.43bn hit in charges relating to Skype in Q3. Some of Skype's early investors who stood to gain as much as $1.7bn from eBay if the company hit …

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Good!

Now what's needed, is for Google to set up a free ad supported online auction site and really kick those useless sons into touch

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PC to Phone is no longer free, just really really cheap

SkypeOut is $30 a year. SkypeIn is $60 a year.

I wouldn't use it to replace a traditional phone service, but it keeps me from having to pay for traditional long distance and drastically cuts down on cell phone usage when traveling.

Other VOIP services seem to be more reliable but they cost 3-4 times more and require special equipment.

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BTW I never used it for instant messaging/PC to PC voice/video chat and I don't personally know anyone else who does.

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There have always been better services than Skype the Hype

For example, Gizmo (http://www.gizmoproject.com) or its ancestor service SipPhone. No special equipment, and the reliability and cost are Far better. And the biggest plus is that it is NOT a Roach-Motel architecture like Skype. It interacts perfectly with all other VoIP services, via SIP. Skype is the choice of the ignorant, just like Microsoft.

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@ Walter Mellon

Or the choice of those who have very specific needs from their IP phone provider, which Skype happens to meet. YMMV.

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Also @ Walter Mellon

Typical rabid fanboi rant. Tell me what other single app gives you all the usual VoiP services + free cross platform voice conferencing between systems + free cross platform video chats?

My mate's sister (who lives in Australia) can see my mate's baby child (in the UK) over a vid chat for free courtesy of Skype. He's got an iMac and they've got a regular PC. Can Gizmo do that? Didn't think so. Skype is number one for a reason.

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@ Macka

"Tell me what other single app gives you all the usual VoiP services + free cross platform voice conferencing between systems + free cross platform video chats?"

If by "the usual VoIP services" you mean "voice chat," then:

Yahoo messenger can do that.

Personally I'd use Gizmo and a separate vid chat app, however, as (1) I use Linux, and (2) in my experience, both audio and video chat apps on Windows are prone to crash, and I'd prefer to only restart one app, rather than lose the connection completely and have to start over with the whole "ring the other party, wait for them to accept, start the video/audio/txt" bit every couple of minutes.

As it happens, I'm mostly using Ventrilo for voice these days; I don't talk to people on the POTS system after work much.

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Tom
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Danger Ahead...

I read an article in the paper today about a company doing voice recognition on telephone calls as a way of targeting ads. While it might not be here yet, even talking about it makes it scary. Mention the word "pizza" and you get a delivery bloke ringing your doorbell before the call is over. Gets real scary!!

Be afraid, be very afraid...

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VOIP means connecting to the regular telephone networks

VOIP isn't voice chat its using the internet to access the regular phone network.

Here are Gizmo's conditions for free calling. Judge for yourself. I would rather pay $30 a year and call whoever I want.

" Under the All Calls Free calling plan, if both you and your Gizmo contact are active users, a call you make to that person will be free (assuming they are in one of the qualifying countries). Both you and your Gizmo contact must have Gizmo Project installed on a PC. An active user is one who regularly uses several communication features in Gizmo Project including:

* Making PC-to-PC calls

* Inviting friends to download and use Gizmo Project, encouraging them to put their telephone numbers (landline and mobile) into their profile

* Adding those friends to their buddy list

* Sending instant messages (IMs) between users

* Making online purchases periodically (for identity verification)

As with all of our services, the All Calls Free plan is subject to the Gizmo Project terms and conditions and end-user licensing agreement. "

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@David Wilkinson

"VOIP isn't voice chat its using the internet to access the regular phone network"

Incorrect. VOIP stands for "Voice Over Internet Protocol". In other words, it was originally made for IRC-type chats using sound rather than keyboard. (check your net-history if you don't believe me).

*Then* someone introduced the concept of linking it to POTS.

This sort of confusion annoys me almost as much as people who keep on trying to tell me the Web *is* the internet.

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VOIPstunt

Each to their own I say......... I use VOIPstunt myself on their pay-as-you-go option. For as little as E10 I can get 3 hours worth of free phone calls to most landlines in the world. And the E10 cost you say??? Well that gets spent on 5c international text messages. You have 3 months to spent you E10 before your 3 hours a week worth of free calls reverts to normal rates or else you can just top up again. Might not suit everyone but like I said each to their own.........

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interconnect

Surely Skype's biggest points of failure must be the interface between their voip network and the bricks and mortar phone networks.

Looking beyond the feint bleats of 'patch Tuesday' (yeah, see you next tuesday Patch me old mucker) i'd ask whether Skype might be having some serious problems with whoever provides their connection services ?

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Anonymous Coward

I might get one of those WiFi Skype phones

150 Euros seems a bit steep but when they're 80 or cheaper, I assume Skype gets a cut from those. I also use skype-in and skype-out too. Again, it's not good enough to replace my landline, but Paypal will never replace a bank either, doesn't mean it's not useful.

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@David Wilkinson #1

"BTW I never used it for instant messaging/PC to PC voice/video chat and I don't personally know anyone else who does.

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My (boring and humble) experience of Skype useage.

(1) I set up Skype on two portable PCs so a neighbour could take one to the Black Sea and call home to her partner (on the other portable) for free. As far as I know they have had loads of use out of this.

(2) I set up a call so my son in Brazil could talk PC to PC with his Gran on her Birthday.

(3) Had a nice long chat with my son calling from a PC in the UK to his mobile in Brazil.

In each case the audio quality was crap but you could hold a conversation.

Oh, and I have used the chat facility - if the person you want to chat to is signed into Skype but not into MSN, then why the heck not?

Yes, Skype is non-standard and there are no doubt other standards based services for the techno-savvy, but as far as I can see it meets a need and is well known and easily accessible. The charges also seem better than using traditional telephony services for international calls.

Now can anyone explain to me why BT bundles IP telephony with their Broadband solution, when the IP telephony is sharing bandwidth with your Internet access, and there is a dedicated voice connection with far better quality sitting idle on the other part of the link?

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Anonymous Coward

Ekiga?

I too agree that there are plenty of people who use Skype for PC-to-PC calls. My partner uses Skype Video in the UK to give his nephew music lessons in New Zealand. Although it works well (sound quality is very good, and it's stable), it annoys me intensely that he has to boot up in Windows to do this. Skype Video is not available for Linux, not working under Wine, and VirtualBox doesn't have the correct video drivers to allow it to be virtualised. Besides which, I find its proprietary nature and monopolistic position distasteful. I am trying to get the other end to download Ekiga for Windows. This doesn't seem to suffer from the usage restrictions of Gizmo reported here. Anyone tried it?

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Skype made two mistakes caused by losing sight of the customers needs

In my humble opinion, Skype made the dreadful mistake, as soon as they were bought, to try and recoup their purchase cost by making the handsets very expensive. They should have sold the handsets at a discount as without the handset, and only using the PC, (which often does not have a satisfactory microphone), they had no new customer. Also, they should have concentrated upon the sale of the service and improving the service. When we make a call from a conventional phone, we simply type in the number and the system does all the rest. We are immediately connected, (or told we cannot by a different ring tone). But with Skype, we have a number of different and relatively complicated options. All I ever want is a replication of the ordinary phone. If I want to make a video call, simply press an additional button. Same with a conference call.

Skype was being led by people that were so orientated onto money payback, they lost sight of the customer and the service that the customer needs. But then, such investment should be entirely equity based and as such, much longer term.

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It's The Outage Stupid.....

I bet the real reason for the shakeup was the recent outage which extended beyond reason. That single event, especially it's length, ruined any momentum Skype had been developing, especially for business deployment.

Also, volume growth seemed stagnant; stuck at 8-9 million simultaneous daily at peak. With eBay's deep pockets there should have been no lack of resources to accelerate development and hardend the network for outages, etc. Perhaps some supernode redundancy.

@ Walter Mellon - you can always tell an embittered SIP'er like him who has had his vision, and perhaps investment, in SIP-based shattered over the years with low growth, banckrupcies, Vonage marginal future, etc. Having Skype with volumes probably close to all other VoIP combined. Skype with practically unlimited potential with minimal infrastructure investment. At the cusp of WiMax deployment which would offer real wireless cell competition.

On the other hand, I bet the founders where poor businessmen and perhaps didn't respond as expected during the outage. Keep in mind Skype had serious ongoing problems just handling SkypeIn/Out payments for a long time before eBay. They FUBAR'd payments, credits, etc.

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Anonymous Coward

ISP's squashed it

There is code to sniff Voip traffic and they just throttled it down to nothing a few times a minute. Maybe you can figure out why they would want to do such a thing. It's just a theory.

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