Skype is Innovating, Are You?

Dear VoIP Provider,
What have you done for me lately? You see Skype keeps doing more and more and you are farther and farther behind. Pretty soon your state of the art VoIP software or service will be considered legacy.
Rich Tehrani

It seems to me that Skype is one of the few companies that sits down and maps out the future in the communications space and in fact if other software/service companies aren’t careful Skype will end up using its voice platform as a way to disrupt their businesses as well.
Skype is the ultimate disruptor. Not because they invented VoIP or anything like that but the company understood that by providing a simple interface to VoIP they would stand out among the crowd and rise to the top of the VoIP crowd.
But when a company gets acquired it usually slows down the innovation. Not so with Skype – the company is a machine of new ideas – even many months after the eBay acquisition.
And every new idea from Skype I hear about makes we wonder what other VoIP providers are doing to compete.
What is Skype up to most recently? They are turning Skype into a forum for communication between those who have information ad those who want it. In other words they are becoming the eBay of consulting allowing anyone who has an expertise to be hired by the minute or project.
The name of this initiative is Skype Prime and it is currently in beta.
An example of how this service could work is if you want to help others learn a foreign language you enter your rate information and you can be hired by another Skype user. Using video, a magician can even provide live entertainment for a birthday party.
This model can be extended into a virtual classroom where a teacher instructs multiple students. Skype collects 30% of the revenue on the transactions which are currently limited to a $2.50 per minute or $12 for one-time fee.
My analysis of this service is wow. This is how to take you service to the next level by providing value and building an ecosystem of people who make a living using you service. The eBay model has finally met VoIP.
One comment is the maximum payment amounts are low and need to be increased at some point. Skype seems to agree the numbers are low but also thinks it is better to start with lower prices to make sure users have a positive experience.
The company has also launched Skype Find which is a service allowing users to rate any sort of business such as restaurants. This allows Skype users to share knowledge with one another. In a few weeks the company has amassed 8,500 listing which seems like a great start.
Of course Skype is able to launch successful new services on top of their core VoIP offering because they have so many users. This is an obvious drawback to other VoIP providers who do not have as big a network to rely on for services such as those detailed above.
But still, why is it that Skype keeps impressing us time after time and so many other providers are simply providing PSTN replacement? Tomorrow’s VoIP providers will have suites of services integrated with voice. This is what VoIP 2.0 is all about. Skype is building a voice mashup company – are other providers paying attention?

  • Luca Filigheddu
    March 18, 2007 at 6:21 am

    Rich, I totally disagree. There are tons of companies which are REALLY innovating with new value added services. Skype is now always closer to telcos, without a real value for users. Skype has a brand, but stopped innovating. Skype prime is innovation ?!? The idea is 10 years old.

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