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Skype rumored to take on Apple's FaceTime at CES

post #1 of 64
Thread Starter 
A pioneer in easy to use video conferencing on the desktop, Skype is now rumored to be bringing video calls to mobile devices, offering competition to Apple's FaceTime.

Skype has reportedly been saying it has a "series of video-related announcements" to make a next month's Consumer Electronics Show, according to a report by Engadget.

The company is also scheduled to be represented in a panel discussion entitled "Video Calling Gets Ready for Primetime" at the conference, and the report noted that Skype advertised via email this morning a new support document that tells users how to make video calls via iPhone.

While there's no parallel documents that provide the same kind of instructions for mobile users running Android or Symbian, it seems likely that the company would want to roll out video features on as many of the mobile platforms its existing VoIP and text chat work on as possible.

Skype already offers limited video chat support on the Linux-based Nokia N900, but hasn't expanded the ability to video chat outside of that device on other mobile platforms it supports with a Skype client.

Taking on FaceTime

Apple's release of FaceTime video calling in conjunction with the iPhone 4 launch this summer received some criticism from users who took issue with the company's suggestion that the new feature represented a first, noting the video calling features long built into many European phones and the front facing video cameras appearing on a few Android models such as the HTC Evo 4G.

What was new about Apple's FaceTime is that it is built using open standards that other companies can implement for interoperability with both mobile and desktop systems. Apple released its own support for Macs and the latest iPod touch, and is expected to add the feature to its second generation iPads early next year. All of the components of FaceTime leverage existing IETF standards and familiar codecs such as H.264 video and AAC audio.

Existing mobile video chat based on telephony standards is not only much poorer quality and so more expensive to use that it is not in common use, but is also tied to mobile networks, and therefore can't interoperate with desktop computers to set up mobile to PC video connections the way FaceTime can.

The video calling hardware Android licensees have added to their own devices lacks a software analog to FaceTime from Google, leaving Evo users to rely upon third party tools such as Fring. It's service can work over 3G networks in addition to WiFi, an advantage over Apple's WiFi-only FaceTime. However, Fring also delivers less quality and is much less reliable. It also requires users to set up a new account, as the existing video chat networks (including Skype, Yahoo, MSN and AOL) are built upon proprietary technologies that can't work together.

Fring vs. Skype

Fring attempted to piggyback on Skype's network to offer Skype users the ability to set up video chats on mobile devices using their existing accounts, something Skype itself does not yet support. However, Skype retaliated by blocking Fring from working with Skype accounts, saying the company had failed to uphold its licensing agreement in relation to tapping into the Skype network and suggested the company was making Skype's brand look bad because of its poor performance.



Skype recently suffered a major outage of its own that prevented even paid desktop callers from begin able to use the service for an extended period. The availability of the basic Skype client on Android was also held up over an exclusive app deal Skype made with Verizon, which limited Skype from working with Android phones not connected to Verizon's network.

FaceTime vs proprietary networks

At the launch of FaceTime, Apple's chief executive Steve Jobs said the company would be publishing open specifications for FaceTime that would enable other companies to build interoperable video chat clients. Over the last six months, no new information about this has surfaced, but competitors have also largely failed to offer any competition in the mobile video calling arena.

Apple's FaceTime for Mac, currently in beta, may be among the first titles available in the company's new Mac App Store, suggesting the potential for Apple to shift attention toward the emerging standard and perhaps leverage the attention that will be directed at the new software download site to broaden the mindshare of FaceTime as a cross platform standard.

If Apple can successfully establish FaceTime as a popular open standard, it will solve an existing problem plaguing instant messaging systems: the fact that existing chat users need to create multiple accounts to chat with others on different chat networks (such as AIM or MSN). A similar use of open standards has enabled email users to trade messages with other users on different email servers made by various vendors with few interoperability problems. Apple's iChat and Google's GTalk have been pushing open IM using the open XMPP standard, but Apple is the only company taking a leading role in pushing open video chat using an extension of many of the same open standards.

Skype made an early comment supportive of FaceTime, but it appears that the company intended to mean that it would bring Skype video chat to iPhone 4, rather than incorporate FaceTime-compatible calls in Skype. The latter would bypass Skype's proprietary network, which represents most of the company's value. Skype's network isn't open, but reportedly uses a distributed P2P-like network for arranging calls between its users while FaceTime uses conventional point-to-point links, offering little apparent room for combining the two together in any sort of partnership.
post #2 of 64
Why compete? They're "competing"in two different parts of the market. Apple doesn't want to be Skype and Skype has no handset to be Apple, soo..... why not just make Skype facetime compatible? After all it's an open standard.
post #3 of 64
Quote:
If Apple can successfully establish FaceTime as a popular open standard, it will solve an existing problem plaguing instant messaging systems: the fact that existing chat users need to create multiple accounts to chat with others on different chat networks (such as AIM or MSN). A similar use of open standards has enabled email users to trade messages with other users on different email servers made by various vendors with few interoperability problems.

The standard already exists, SIP, published by the IETF just like the email protocols. If Apple was truly interested in open standards they would have used that.
post #4 of 64
Apple isn't in the business of selling FaceTime. Apple is in the business of selling iPhones. If skype brings an easy to use facetime competitor to the iPhone, it's good for Apple because it helps to sell iPhones.
post #5 of 64
In short, Skype Video is coming to the iPhone.

According to AI, everything is a competition.
post #6 of 64
As long as Skype FINALLY starts using Push properly and not draining battery, then Ill be very happy to see more videophone apps!
post #7 of 64
Skype is probably more concerned about competing with Fring.

Fring has introduced a paid call anyone feature like Skype's, after Skype froze them out.

Fring's latest update includes full screen video calling and DVQ (dynamic video quality) which adjusts video quality depending on bandwidth.

The latest generation iPod Touch can also use Facetime, as can Macs with the beta software installed so the "iPhone 4 only" part of the table is wrong.

PS Merry Christmas from Dec 25 in Australia.
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post #8 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by huntercr View Post

Why compete? They're "competing"in two different parts of the market. Apple doesn't want to be Skype and Skype has no handset to be Apple, soo..... why not just make Skype facetime compatible? After all it's an open standard.

Because (as the article notes), to do so would be pretty much the end of Skype as a company.

So instead, Skype will "fight back" with some other competing standard and everyone will suffer for a few years just because Skype doesn't want to go out of business, (even though they probably will eventually anyway).
post #9 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by bluedalmatian View Post

The standard already exists, SIP, published by the IETF just like the email protocols. If Apple was truly interested in open standards they would have used that.

Incorrect.

Of the four main standards that FaceTime is based on, three are IETF standards, one of which is SIP. You just assumed that it was non-standard because it was Apple, when a simple lookup on the wiki tells the exact opposite story.
post #10 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by bluedalmatian View Post

The standard already exists, SIP, published by the IETF just like the email protocols. If Apple was truly interested in open standards they would have used that.

I think you're misunderstanding his point. SIP is used as part of the complete framework Apple has labelled 'FaceTime'. It's not a video standard in itself to my knowledge.

The author here is calling FaceTime a standard in the sense of making it the framework that everybody chooses to adopt and become compatible with, not in the sense that H264 or AAC are standards. He's using 'standard' in a broader sense.
post #11 of 64
Apple has no interest in officially attending CES. They get just as much press without even showing up. Many of the "press release products" demo-ed at CES are would-be competitors to Apple products. Therefore the media is compelled to compare those products against Apple's. This is free publicity for Apple all day, every day. And as we all know, if an Apple product and a competitor's product are mentioned together, Apple wins and the competitor loses.

In addition, if Apple decides to introduce new iPads just after CES every year, they gain a huge tactical advantage. The wannabes are forced to reveal their products and/or strategies at CES because CES is too important to miss. (Unless you're forced to skip CES because your product is fatally flawed like Google TV-enabled HDTVs from Toshiba, LG, and Sharp, but that's a different story.)

Competitors who announce pad computers at CES will enjoy just a brief period of media attention before iPad 2.0 is announced. After that it's lights out.

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post #12 of 64
The way I see this Apple has once again taken advantage of a fractured sector of the market and created a solution that should have been created long ago. MSN, Skype, Yahoo et al haven't gotten together and created a unified or interoperable architecture because of their own self-interest.

We can all understand that, but it's left the door wide open for Apple to come in and create a simple, elegant solution that lets people running any Mac or iOS device to communicate with zero fuss or technical expertise at high quality without signing up for an account etc.

I think Apple is simply using FaceTime as a selling point for the iOS/Mac ecosystem until they think it's the right moment to abandon that strategy and release a Windows FaceTime client, at which time Skype's market share will evaporate.

I like Skype, but it's not a patch on FaceTime or iChat for quality and I can't see how they can avoid their long-term fate now. You could even argue this is something for competition watchdogs to look into, but that's not our problem. I'll just enjoy the Star Trek-esque video quality the industry has failed to provide for so long.
post #13 of 64
I am a long time fan of skype. It really does have something to offer the user.

1- Widespread international adoption
2- Cross platform interoperability
3- Ability to call landline and cell phones directly

I use skype occasionally to make phone calls from my Touch over wifi. No need for a cell phone plan!

The video for Skype on my Mac is pretty good, certainly good enough for a video chat. They have saved us thousands of dollars over the last several years. Or, more accurately, allowed us to keep in touch with friends and family overseas in a way we never would have without them.

Skype is definitely one of the good guys!!!
post #14 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by jmmx View Post

I am a long time fan of skype. It really does have something to offer the user.

1- Widespread international adoption
2- Cross platform interoperability
3- Ability to call landline and cell phones directly

I use skype occasionally to make phone calls from my Touch over wifi. No need for a cell phone plan!

The video for Skype on my Mac is pretty good, certainly good enough for a video chat. They have saved us thousands of dollars over the last several years. Or, more accurately, allowed us to keep in touch with friends and family overseas in a way we never would have without them.

Skype is definitely one of the good guys!!!

How do you talk over your iPod touch? I have an ipod touch as well but there is no microphone in it (I have the first generation, perhaps the newer ones have mics embedded?)

I also love Skype- I pay $3 per month for unlimited long distance calling in the US and Canada to any regular phone number. You can't beat that! I don't think the iPhone is worth the AT&T fees and I balk when my friends tell me they just paid their $100 ATT bill for their iPhones.
post #15 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by Prof. Peabody View Post

Because (as the article notes), to do so would be pretty much the end of Skype as a company.

So instead, Skype will "fight back" with some other competing standard and everyone will suffer for a few years just because Skype doesn't want to go out of business, (even though they probably will eventually anyway).

That's the part I don't get... why would they go out of business? What sales will they lose? People don't buy iPhones for facetime... it's a side feature. Also...
Not everyone in the world wants an iPhone. Skype would be allowing Facetime on its services.

Seems like a win win to me.
post #16 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by huntercr View Post

That's the part I don't get... why would they go out of business? What sales will they lose? People don't buy iPhones for facetime... it's a side feature. Also...
Not everyone in the world wants an iPhone. Skype would be allowing Facetime on its services.

Seems like a win win to me.

FaceTime isnt an iPhone-only feature, it only started on the iPhone. Then it moved to the iPod Touch, will move to the iPad when it gets a camera, is already on Macs as a beta app, and was announced as going to released as an open standard during the initial demonstration. This means that Android, BB OS, Symbian, WP7, etc. can all add FaceTime support, not to mention specific apps that want to just in on cheap and simple video streaming.

Note that the biggest failure of video conferencing has been the lack of standardization. With FaceTime there is an opportunity for the same video conferencing can be supported across all networks without setup and work between phones, PMPs, and PCs. Of course, this all hinges on adoption which means the FaceTime protocol suite needs to get released to all.
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post #17 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by huntercr View Post

That's the part I don't get... why would they go out of business? What sales will they lose? People don't buy iPhones for facetime... it's a side feature. Also...
Not everyone in the world wants an iPhone. Skype would be allowing Facetime on its services.

Seems like a win win to me.

Use the ear buds. They have a mic built in. I used the iPod touch for a while but a touch with skype is not a cell phone. You'll still need a cell phone and that is why I got an iPhone eventually and have never looked back. I tried the all free or cheap VoIP stuff for about a year and it never lived up to the hype. Of course I still use skype for international calls from my iPhone.

Edit: I don't know if the first gen iPod touch had the ear buds with the built in mic or not. If not, you may have to go third party for a mic.
post #18 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by tyler82 View Post

How do you talk over your iPod touch? I have an ipod touch as well but there is no microphone in it (I have the first generation, perhaps the newer ones have mics embedded?)

I also love Skype- I pay $3 per month for unlimited long distance calling in the US and Canada to any regular phone number. You can't beat that! I don't think the iPhone is worth the AT&T fees and I balk when my friends tell me they just paid their $100 ATT bill for their iPhones.

Our iPod Touch 4th gen has a microphone built in. First and second generation didn't. I'm not sure about the third generation.
post #19 of 64
Fring and Skype are worthless. Suitable for people who love Windows.
post #20 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by Prof. Peabody View Post

Because (as the article notes), to do so would be pretty much the end of Skype as a company.

So instead, Skype will "fight back" with some other competing standard and everyone will suffer for a few years just because Skype doesn't want to go out of business, (even though they probably will eventually anyway).

I use Skype on a daily basis. Until all of Apple's competing protocols become as ubiquitous, I can't see Skype being displaced. I have a couple Skype phone numbers in different countries that I travel to. I use it to call landlines with super cheap international rates. It messages, and has voicemail, works on a wide array of platforms and is a lot more popular worldwide than anything Apple sells including iPhones.

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post #21 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by jmmx View Post

I am a long time fan of skype. It really does have something to offer the user.

1- Widespread international adoption
2- Cross platform interoperability
3- Ability to call landline and cell phones directly

I use skype occasionally to make phone calls from my Touch over wifi. No need for a cell phone plan!

The video for Skype on my Mac is pretty good, certainly good enough for a video chat. They have saved us thousands of dollars over the last several years. Or, more accurately, allowed us to keep in touch with friends and family overseas in a way we never would have without them.

Skype is definitely one of the good guys!!!

+1

With Skype, I can chat or talk with anyone, anywhere irrespective of whether they have a Mac, iPhone or any other Apple product. I can use Skype over 3G from any smartphone, not just Apple and I can talk with other smartphones anywhere in the world for pennies vs mobile companies' exorbitantly high toll rates.

Skype quality is decent enough. I can video chat with a person holding a non-Apple product (vast majority of people out there). Skype is here to stay. It's pretty much on every platform now.
post #22 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by mstone View Post

...and is a lot more popular worldwide than anything Apple sells including iPhones.

This is a strange comparison; how can a piece of hardware be compared to a piece of software in such a way? In 2010 Apple sold 50m iPhones. In November Skype set a record of 22.25m unique users for one day. I think it's safe to assume most iPhones are used daily. Flawed logic? Perhaps, but that's sort of my point...you can't make such statements.
post #23 of 64
FaceTime is great. After Apple makes it available for Macs, iPad 2, and even AppleTV, they will have a lot of users coming onboard.

After that Google will probably put it in the (whatever OS is next) version in the Android phones.

Microsoft will also have to put it in their phone, just to keep up with the leaders. By then Apple will have put it in Windows.

Probably even Nokia might have to consider doing the same thing.

This will all probably happen in 2011. That should be a LOT of FaceTime users. Skype will feel the heat by then.

But Skype will continue having an advantage over FaceTime, as they can offer a Phone number to call everyone else and receive calls now. For some reason they don't make that very much a priority to let many people know. They should start doing that quick. Apple will try to figure something out to do away with paid cell phone service. The Carriers will NEVER give up on that Golden Goose.
post #24 of 64
This is great news for mobile devices in general and especially the iOS devices. Skype works great on our iPhones (3GS and 4) and does not drain the battery and suggested above. Having built in video chat seemed like a no brainer when the iPhone 4 was released but better late than never.

I like Skype and we have one account that we pay for an In and Out number (Online Number) and it works great.

Also, how many people are using Facetime? In our house we tend to gravitate towards Skype and we don't have to. That is because Facetime is only on iOS devices and Mac's so talking with Android / Windows / Linux people means Skype and those users still out number Mac's and iOS by a large number.
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post #25 of 64
I love FaceTime and Skype. I'd love to see Skype (a full version) on the iPhone. FaceTime is great, but having it as an Apple only solution really limits usefulness. My niece has an iPod Touch... it's amazing... but millions of people use Skype. It's the standard.

It's like iWork vs. Office. You can love iWork to death, but at the end of the day, everyone uses Office.
post #26 of 64
FaceTime offers something Skype never will though. I'll explain.

Up until January of this year I was one of VERY few people, perhaps two or three of my friends who had Skype, and I live in a built up area of England. I used it to talk to my brother sometimes and for when I spent some time abroad to talk to another friend. This year, my best friend and his wife went to Africa for 6 months and suddenly, his parents and her parents and two or three of our friends all had Skype. It was the only real solution at the time (we all know how reliable MSN is as a video conferencing platform!).

Since my friends came back from Africa, once again, nobody uses it. My point is three-fold:

1) There is still a huge untapped market. There may be 500m user accounts on Skype, but the smart money says many belong to multiple account holding users. In November, Skype had it's record high of just shy of 23M unique users in a day. That's a lot, but point 1 is that there are a heck of a lot of people who still haven't bought into Skype that Apple can reach with an altogether simpler system like FaceTime, built right into their device without them having to go to Skype.com and download, install, register etc.

2) FaceTime doesn't require a user account and the forethought to download the software. You don't have to sign your dad and your nan up for Skype accounts to get them going "Oh, that's clever!". You just show them FaceTime on their Macs/iPods/iPhones/iPads. If you've tried to get someone of the older generation to sign up for something online, you'll know they really don't like doing so. It doesn't sit well with them.

3) No logging in. This is the kicker; Skype requires too big a behavioural shift to truly become a household item for everyday, just-nipping-down-the-shops use. A Skype call is an event, not a frivolous part of every day life. There may be a huge minority of people who use MSN/Yahoo/Skype for one reason or another, but most people just do not. They DO use their phones. FaceTime has the potential to have people calling each other a la Jetsons (SJ seemed to like that idea!) because it doesn't require you to be logged in as such. Just having your phone on you means you're logged in. The behaviour shift is only one from an audio call to an audio-visual call. That jump is not just more plausible, I'd say it's down-right inevitable in the long-term.

My aunt recently summed it up when I got her to sign up (despite the aforementioned trepidation) to Skype so she and my dad could talk when she said: "I'll just have to text you when I want you to sign into Skype."
post #27 of 64
Regardless of who has facetime, whether its APPLE or SKYPE or GOOGLE the key factor to it being a success is being able to use it on 3G and not only Wi-Fi. Hopefully, the carriers will eventually upgrade their networks and be able to have the bandwidth available for Facetime over 3G or 4G.
For those of us that were around at the 1964 Worlds Fair, FaceTime was being shown under a different name and it never took off because of the cost.
post #28 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by bluedalmatian View Post

The standard already exists, SIP, published by the IETF just like the email protocols. If Apple was truly interested in open standards they would have used that.

Actually, according to the keynote at the WWDC 2010, they did.
But SIP is not really a complete standard for VoIP, it is a protocol to initiate the session (Session Initiation Protocol, or something similar :-). It can be used for a lot of stuff other than VoIP and it needs to be complemented by a set of other protocols for the communications and so on.

The slides talked also about the other standards, i think that Facetime is actually an ombrella standard with a few integration rules.
post #29 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post


Existing mobile video chat based on telephony standards is not only much poorer quality and so more expensive to use that it is not in common use, but is also tied to mobile networks, and therefore can't interoperate with desktop computers to set up mobile to PC video connections the way FaceTime can.

While the rest of the article make a quite precise analysis, there is a detail here that is important and plainly wrong; in Europe, usually video calls are included in the standard phone subscription; a video call cost the same as a phone call, and it is integrated in the normal talk time defined in your subscription plan.

And *nobody* use it; in the last five years in Paris, for example, i never saw somebody making a video call in the street or while commuting; it seems that mobile video is just somethings europeans do not want (do not ask me why).

Desktop video is something different.
post #30 of 64
Skype is great for me here in Japan. Just called my Mum in Canada yesterday from my iPhone to her landline for virtually nothing. Pennies.

Looking forward to something from Apple that does the same thing.
post #31 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by res08hao View Post

Fring and Skype are worthless. Suitable for people who love Windows.

eh.. skype is very useful thanks and I have no love for windows.
post #32 of 64
Hi Kasper.

If you keep banning IP addresses, you will begin to ban some of the most popular Starbuck's locations in a major Northeast city.

Just so you know.

And BTW, IP addresses are in infinite supply to me, so banning IPs does exactly nothing bad for me.




If you'd like, we can agree to just get along.
post #33 of 64
FaceTime seems like such a great idea until you use it.

You have to hold the iPhone at arm's length if you don't want your face to look distorted, and then you have to shout at the phone to make yourself heard.

Besides, most people's faces don't look so good on camera -- they're used to seeing themselves in a mirror, so the reversed image of their face can be quite jarring.

I was so excited to get FaceTime, but on the first use, I decided I need to get a wig and extensive plastic surgery
post #34 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by bappo View Post

...in Europe, usually video calls are included in the standard phone subscription; a video call cost the same as a phone call, and it is integrated in the normal talk time defined in your subscription plan.

And *nobody* use it; in the last five years in Paris, for example, i never saw somebody making a video call in the street or while commuting; it seems that mobile video is just somethings europeans do not want (do not ask me why).

Really, just how much do you know about the countless European network operators to make such sweeping statements?

It's certainly not the case with the majority of the UK networks nor in other European countries I've been to; don't mistake Paris for the whole of Europe.

I'll give you credit for one observation though, I'm yet to see someone making video calls in a public place be it Facetime, 3G video or otherwise. It's anecdotal but people just don't seem to have a use for mobile video calls generally.
post #35 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by ChiA View Post

It's anecdotal but people just don't seem to have a use for mobile video calls generally.

Deaf people do, apparently.
post #36 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by cnocbui View Post

Deaf people do, apparently.

So they can sign to each other over video? I can see signing in person being ideal, but when you have an handheld communicating device youre already limiting your abilities with a device in hand and you have writing, a much more efficient method of communication for most uses. Id think all those who are not blind are on par with FaceTime usage.
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post #37 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by macFanDave View Post

FaceTime seems like such a great idea until you use it.

You have to hold the iPhone at arm's length if you don't want your face to look distorted, and then you have to shout at the phone to make yourself heard.

Besides, most people's faces don't look so good on camera -- they're used to seeing themselves in a mirror, so the reversed image of their face can be quite jarring.

I was so excited to get FaceTime, but on the first use, I decided I need to get a wig and extensive plastic surgery

Too bad it doesn't work for you, but it's been a great servant for me, my girlfriend and my family. I doubted I would ever use it because of its limit at start because either no one else I know of has an iPhone 4 or I'm not interested in video chatting with the folk that do have iPhone 4.

However, I've been using it more than I expected after Apple introduced FaceTime for Mac. There are often times that I don't have my laptop with me or I simply don't want to sit in front of my MacBook for such a lengthy time. My iPhone gives me a lot of flexibility. I can take it with me and show whatever I think is interesting to them. Furthermore there's virtually no setting-up at all so the other side and I can go straight to the video chat rather than fuzzing with all the sign-in, set-up thing. I can only imagine it grows further after we can FaceTime on 3G as well.
post #38 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jonamac View Post

This is a strange comparison; how can a piece of hardware be compared to a piece of software in such a way? In 2010 Apple sold 50m iPhones. In November Skype set a record of 22.25m unique users for one day. I think it's safe to assume most iPhones are used daily. Flawed logic? Perhaps, but that's sort of my point...you can't make such statements.

Skype has 500+ million registered users = popular.

Does that clarify my point?

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post #39 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by mstone View Post

Skype has 500 million+ registered users = popular.

Does that clarify my point?

How many of those Skype users are actively using their accounts?

I never use mine anymore but Im sure Im counted in that tally. I even have money on my account that Ill never use. In fact, I dropped my Skype In number when Google Voice came online. I only ever used Skype for their In/Out services for voice calls to or from proper phone in the US when traveling abroad. Worked surprising well over very, very, very slow internet connections.

I can see a universal, open video conferencing protocol suite being popular and making Skypes video chat only useful when chatting between Skype users, a limitation that FaceTime will not have as it evolves. The number of products and apps that will be able to integrate FaceTime will be innumerable.

On top of that, as Jonamac stated, the connectivity is dead simple compared to Skypes video chat.

Skype will still have their other services, but are Skype In/Out that good? As I stated, I dropped mine for Google Voice which is what I use when I need to give a non-friend or family member a phone number, though it will forward to my cellphone. Does Google Voice operate as widely as Skype In?
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post #40 of 64
My grade-school age son lives with his mother in Mexico. I live in the US. He and I have tried Skype and iChat. Neither worked well. (1) I had to set up the video chat first with telephone call. (2) The Mexican ISP is not good. Consequently video and even audio quality were often poor. With Facetime (1) is not a problem. My son often calls me at his breakfast time, often waking me up. Having my iPhone RING is a great advantage. He uses either a fourth generation ipod touch or his macbook. As for (2), Facetime seems to work far better. Only occasionally are calls unworkable. I should add that my son has a hearing problem, so good audio is a sine qua non. That is why I had abandoned Skype-out as a way to talk to him. My phone bill has dropped by many hundreds of dollars a month since we started using FT. One more point. With a child, one can do silly things like pantomine or play games or show drawings. Or one can just BE THERE. It is a wonderful way to stay in touch between visits.
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