Person to person video calling: Skype, Fring, Apple and YouTube ..

There is an interesting little conversation going on ..

Fring claims it was blocked by Skype

Skype clarifies that Fring removed the Skype functionality on its own accord and that Fring’s mis-use of Skype software was damaging to their brand and reputation – for instance when Fring’s video calling functionality stressed network capability

On first instance, it sounds like a classic ‘Open’ vs. ‘Blocked’ case ..

Also, the comments on the Skype blog appear to be frustrated because of the delay in the universal availability of Skype video calling

But let us look at a wider picture encompassing Skype Fring but also Apple and YouTube

Before I give my views, a caveat that Chetan Sharma and I have authored a white paper on Mobile VOIP and independently, I have been tracking IP and networks on Telecoms for a long time.

I said some time ago that some applications like Mobile multimedia twitter would need some form of optimization by the network

In a nutshell, Video is about experience, more so – person to person video calling.

It is one of the few applications that need network based QOS. While FaceTime has been revolutionizing and legitimizing the person to person video calling functionality, even Apple will stick to WiFi alone for FaceTime and with good reason .. Because person to person video calling will truly stress the network unless you work closely with the Operators (as Fring found themselves recently)

And no one can fault Apple for ignoring the customer experience!

Take yet another example ..

Why do you think that Google, the perceived paragon for Openness, still prefers flash over HTML5 for YouTube ?

As they say in considerable detail on their blog there’s a lot more to it than just retrieving and displaying a video

So, it is good that FaceTime creates the customer demand for person to person video calling and that customers want
Skype based person to person video calling .. But the QOS depends on working with the Operators and not against them.

The alternative is: The customer experience will suffer and we will lose the current industry momentum for person to person video calling

And that cannot be a good thing!


  1. labatterie says:

    removed the Skype functionality on its own accord and that Fring’s mis-use