Some thoughts on Skype's announcement

I was thinking about today's Skype announcement (see Skype Declares War on US Telecom Industry) while walking the dog. This would seem to have a far bigger effect on Vonage than the US RBOCs. You still need a wire into the home (in most places), be that cable or a twisted pair line. Vonage on the other hand has an infrastructure to pay for which Skype doesn't have to worry about. Skype's infrastructure is the directory service, that's it.

I have had Vonage on and off since 2003. I have been considering cancelling it: I don't use it at all. My biggest gripe with Vonage is that they charge extra for the Softphone. More often than not I'm not at home where the phone and ATA sit, I'm at a client or using some WiFi somewhere, or I'm just elsewhere in the house and don't want to be tethered to my desk chair.

Skype frees me from the office, the desk chair, the tether.

Now, I have some issues with Skype, though minor: I wish they would map my SkypeIn number to the CNID when I use SkypeOut. This shouldn't be difficult to do, various open source VOIP gateways seem to do this today. They have the account information they need for the mapping, they use it for billing SkypeOut after all.

My second issue, again minor, is that I don't want to be Skype'd by everyone in the world. About once a day I get a "please add me to your contact list" dialog from someone I've never heard of and have no interest in talking to, nor in allowing to see when I'm online.

Call me a grinch, I just don't feel a strong need to be available to everyone online. I tried that once and it lead to a lifetime of burnout.

Posted in Opinion & Analysis

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