You need to know what's on the cutting-edge of technology. Find out what's coming and the unique Warptest POV with just one click on the "Blog" tile.

All posts in VOIP

Skype Warptest-ed

Skype, the popular VOIP application has been under the microscope lately. I’ve looked at it on Windows PC, Windows Mobile (legacy but working version), Symbian, Linux and other platforms. Why you ask, mainly because I frequently get asked about it in a support context.


As you know in May 2010 Microsoft announced their acquisition of Skype.for $8.5 Billion. Since then the biggest thing we have heard was the news that it will be developed for Microsoft’s Windows Phone 7. ((Since I began writing this I found way more interesting news about Skype for PC incorporating HD video, Facebook and Bing Bar integration))

As I looked this popular app both as a day-to-day user and as a tester I found it frustrating at times and was hard pressed to put my finger on why.

Great expectations

So I sat down with a tumbler of scotch and mulled exactly was bothering me. I came to the conclusions that: –

  • It hasn’t really progressed from a Desktop Application (even the versions ported to mobile platforms).
  • It is the kid in school who always gets the could do better  and  does not play well with others on their report card.

Perhaps one of the reasons that Ebay and Skype themselves before Microsoft didn’t fulfill Skype’s potential was that they simply didn’t see what they had.

Is Skype simply a VOIP application? Definitely not.

Warptest Predictions or 2 Things Skype needs…

Once again I’m going to indulge in something between predictions and the hope that someone at Redmond reads this and says “”Hey great ideas, let’s hire this guy and run with this”: –

  • Full integration into Windows Live. Skype is at its core a Desktop app but the way to drag it kicking and screaming into the 21st Century is to make it part of Microsoft’s cloud ecosystem. Just as a small example, if I send or receive files via Skype the best place to store them as a default location is not the local device I’m using, it’s my Skydrive. For those who don’t favor Live add an option here for Dropbox, Box.Net, Google Apps and that way when it hits Europe you can avoid those pesky EU non-compete suits.

Skype - SkyDrive

  • Turn it into a social media hub. Yes, Skype needs to maintain it’s core VOIP functionality but it already has some Facebook integration. Adding full integration allows a user to also post to Twitter and other Social Networks; VOIP / IM were the natural precursors of the Real-Time Social Networking Revolution so this would be a case of natural evolution. Skype as a Social Networking Hub would open a huge can of whup-*ss on applications like Seesmic or Tweetdeck.

I’m not even going to get into the potential as a commerce or pay-per-service platform that would be well served looking at models like Linden Labs’ Second Life for just how easy an application can make it for their users to pay each other for services or products.

I guess my last question is if Skype should be proudly 100% Microsoft then will I be able to search accounts via Bing and where does this leave MS Messenger?

Sometimes you look at things and think, these just don’t go together. It can be food or people or in this case companies.

Many of the naysayers have been slamming Ebay for the purchase of Skype.

Just for those of you who aren’t in the know, Ebay is the big cheese of online auction and Skype is probably the big cheese of free VOIP (Voice Over IP)/ IM/ Video over IP.

I use Skype myself but have never touched Ebay as it just doesn’t interest me. However, it got me thinking in a what were they thinking sort of way.

I see two rational options here: –
a) Ebay had a huge chunk of change and nothing to do with it so on a whim they bought Skype.
b) This is my personal theory, Ebay is real-time online auction; how better to improve this than to include the option of VOIP or Video auctioning i.e integrate the Skype technology into the Ebay site. Better yet think of the option to do this and see the item you are buying and your competitors/ the seller; and think of doing this via a Mobile device.

Now as I said I know next to nothing about the workings of Ebay but think about being out and about and the (theoretical) Ebay java app on my cellular / PDA notifies me of a relevant auction and allows me to participate via voice or video on the go.

This may just be a neat little killer app in the making or a functional add on to Skype, the Ebay plugin. Oh yes, and use that Skype credit as money to bid with and pay with making Skype a neat online credit card in effect.

Still only time will tell what the folks at Ebay are hatching for us.