It’s been all over the tech news world lately; apparently Google is muling over taking Skype off of Ebay’s hands. Ebay has already written down the value of Skype as a large loss on their purchase price of $2.6 billion in stock and cash. But would Skype’s G-branded future be any better?
I think it would be. Skype is a strong international brand for voice calls, instant messaging and video calls; but of course it competes directly with Google Talk. Skype as a company has made a lot of mistakes; but they actually produces some of the best technology for p2p VOIP out there in the marketplace. Skype is particularly strong in redundancy, cost of network operation (since it’s p2p every user carries’ each others traffic; most people have no idea of this fact) and routing around the most draconian network admins out their through their routers.
All of this is a strict propreitary network and is centrally controlled at the moment for Ebay. All voice is encrypted accross Skype; but it is well-speculated that Skype has a back door to snoop on anyone it so wishes (although it would never publicly admit to this). Legislation hasn’t caught up to protect voice calls like they are on “traditional” PSTN [Pretty Simple Telephone Network].
I think Google could open up Skype’s network; to what extent is anyone’s guess. I hope they integrate XMPP like Gmail Chat capability (which is an open standard); and do the same for voice/video (could take a while based on patents) . I predict the client will most likely stay propreitary and closed-source; as opening it up could reveal back-doors; patent and copyright issues and more. But overall I think the transaction could go quite well for both parties…