You have likely seen the recent news – Skype unveils free ‘Meet Now’ video calls to take on Zoom.
Skype used to rule audio and video communications – they became the leader in the crowded IP communications space fifteen years ago because they were able to get through a technology called NAT – meaning firewalls and routers didn’t block its communications. Competitors didn’t have the same technology and subsequently had issues communicating.
Also – ease of use was a huge factor.
In 2007 we eagerly wanted Skype to embrace Brady Bunch or multiparty conferencing – in an exclusive interview, we asked them about this functionality and here was the response:
Only tech-savvy users have asked for this feature and the typical application where grandma wants to see the kids does not lend itself to such functionality. Besides, I was told a third party application did exist to allow this capability but it just didn’t take off.
Eventually, the company rolled this feature out but Zoom became a far more popular option as it was easier to use.
ZDNet had a recent article on why people Zoom instead of Skyping and ease-of-use was a factor for sure. Zoom made it even easier – SKype left an opening.
We wonder however if Skype had embraced multiparty conferencing functionality back in 2007 when we brought it up, if things would have turned out differently.
Ironically, the global media has turned against Zoom because of security issues and the routing of some traffic through China. As a result many schools are advocating leaving Zoom for Microsoft Teams – Microsoft owns Skype.
As George Ou points out, the hysteria is overblown:
Overblown or not – the damage has been done – government agencies also seem to want to make Zoom a punching bag.
So in a roundabout way, Microsoft is getting the customers anyway. We think if Skype took our request more seriously though, Zoom may have never even gotten off the ground.