Monday, November 23, 2009

Skype as a Next Generation Telephone platform

Skype with more than 500 million users is bigger than Facebook or Myspace. Off course the features what Skype provides today is different from other social networking platform. But the question is how difficult is it for Skype to support some of these social networking features. With the new management and the legal issue put to rest, I can see a rejuvenated Skype hunting for more success. According to OM , Skype CEO Josh has outlined platform as one of the key product idea for the future. Iam not surprised by the new strategy. With one of biggest social graph data, opening up their platform is a next logical step for Skype to reap in more revenues from voice and messaging.

With all the next generation platform talk , will Skype get the platform right? A part of me still feels that it would be disaster unless done right this time. We all know how Skype screwed up their Third party Developer program. I have myself used their API’s to write some apps and found it miserable. I don’t even want to call them as API. It was a closed API that was restrictive in every god damn way. Iam not sure how the heck can anyone write innovative apps on top of it. We have seen so many big vendors move into Platform play with little or no success. The success of the platform depends on the developers, developers and developers. Considering Andreessen’s involvement in the new management, iam sure his experience would come handy in building a successful next generation platform.

The concept of client based API, where in a Skype client is required to be running for third party applications to initiate services is gone be a disaster. Instead, Skype needs to consider opening up Voice,Video,Chat,Presence etc as a service for other developers to embed these features in any of front end interface like web,mobile,gaming consoles call centers etc. Skype can share presence information via API’s for gaming consoles based on which intelligent applications can be built. Some of the folks like ribbit,voxeo,ifbyphone,tringme are already playing the telephony platform role. The biggest advantage for Skype is that they already have millions of users, and that is very lucrative for developers to build apps using Skype platform API’s. It’s a WIN-WIN for both Skype and developers. With video conferencing becoming more and more popular, Skype can become one of the major players in video conferencing. In the past couple of weeks, we have seen so many acquisitions in the video conferencing market. ( Lifesize,Tanderberg etc).

The platform doesn’t have to be limited to Skype users alone. Developers can build Voice/Video/Messaging applications using Skype platform API’s to cater different social networking platform users. Skype as a telephony platform has a huge opportunity provided its done right.

Digg this

No comments: