Skype’s VOIP Challenge to Google, Yahoo, MSN
Skype was the first VOIP download offering that I ever heard of and over the past year, I’ve become quite loyal to the service. Back in the States, I used Skype for long distance calls as much as for international ones, as having a broadband connection was enough to save some serious cash on my phone bill or by purchasing international phone cards – which seem to have become more and more expensive since the introduction of VOIP. With 143,066,452 downloads (and counting) there are more Skypers than the population of most nations.
With so many users and possibly half of them being loyal users, Skype could be on the verge of becoming a major player on the desktop / broadband market with a few additions. Just think how many searches Skype users would make in a month if the Skype search box went beyond Skype users to web or music download search. Heck, I’ve found Skype’s Instant Messaging and file sharing functions to be faster and more user friendly than most of the larger messaging programs on the market (yes, this means you Yahoo, MSN, and AOL) and free of intrusive popups and advertising (yes, this means you MSN and AOL).
Jeremy Wright of Ensight even uses his Skype for communication purposes that most consider using email for.
It’s an odd thought, I know, but I find myself sending and receiving Skype messages as if they’re email. What I mean is that I’ve started sending and receiving messages, using Skype’s Instant Message features, where I don’t expect a response right away (if at all). In fact, I’ve started sending messages to people who are Offline, because I know they’ll get them when they come on!
Whenever I log on, I find these types of messages as well. Many are responses to blog posts, some are little “hey, can you send x file” and a handful are just “hey, haven’t talked in a while, wanted to know I was thinking about you” type messages
Jeremy’s opinion on his own personal Skype usage really got me thinking. With Yahoo adding VOIP to its Messenger service and more and more providers and portals getting into VOIP, some fear that the end of Skype may be around the corner – especially if Google (oh no, not Google!) gets into VOIP (although the only real Google non-search oriented member offerings considered a success by many are only GMail and Brazilians using Orkut). With some strategic partnerships and offerings, Skype may just position itself to become a strong faction in the messenger/search/download/communications market. For a look into some of the extras that one can add to Skype by choice, check out their Skype Extras Directory.