Sun, 22/Oct/2017 16:43

Fall of a titan

I do not like Skype; I never have and never will.

I was introduced to Skype some years ago (early 2005) by a friend who insisted that it was pronounced like "skippy". I tried unsuccessfully to convince him otherwise. I thought it was interesting technology, so I read reviews by many different people including techies and average users. Many user reviews are beyond glowing about connecting with friends and being able to communicate so easily. But that ease comes with a price. Once installed on your computer, Skype opens a door to allow traffic (video calls, etc) from other users to pass through your computer. This might be ok but it uses your bandwidth and there may be a way to use this to compromise your computer and personal information. In addition, calls are not private and it may be possible for someone through whose computer your video is streaming to catch and watch that stream. This is slim but still possbile. I have not been able to bring myself to open my computer to such vunerabilities.

As I have seen Skype become more popular and amass a larger user base I have wondered how it has been possible for the company to turn a profit. Do they sell ads to callers? Do users listen to ads prior to chatting? To users pay a subscription? or pay for premium support? Do they sell user information to the highest bidder? How do they make money other than by fleecing either users or investors?

So a week or so ago I read that Facebook and Google were eyeing the purchase of Skype. I laughed at the idea and wondered, out loud even, "Who in their right mind would even consider such a loosing venture?" I had no idea that the desperate Microsoft would step in and preempt them both by paying through the nose for a money pit. Microsoft has been in decline for some time: Vista was a millstone necklace (from which they seem to have mostly entangled with 7), piracy running amok, Bing a losing venture. I admit that I do not like MS products nor their corporate philosophy but I do not wish to see the company ruined, I just want them to improve their software and let people make choices. To me it seems that they are desparate and are grabbing at ideas and companies merely to get them before the tight grasp of Google closes first.

I do not understand how MS will be able to turn Skype to make a profit. I anticipate this being the fall of a titan. However, to their credit they must have seen something I have not.





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