Skype had a problem. They had created a wonderful product that people loved but for which people did not want to pay. M$ is awash with cash and is trying to provide all kinds of service on the web. At first glance that looks like a match except that users are not locked-in to Skype. There are plenty of other services people can use: telcos, their own VOIP, ekiga, KPhone, etc.

Since I don’t want anything to do with M$, I will now have to use a different VOIP solution. I have used ekiga before so that will likely do. I already have Pidgin installed as well and it can do voice.

It seems to me that M$ has outbid everyone just to keep Skype out of the hands of Google or FaceBook rather than to make money. I expect this will add to the losses of their on-line division.

About Robert Pogson

I am a retired teacher in Canada. I taught in the subject areas where I have worked for almost forty years: maths, physics, chemistry and computers. I love hunting, fishing, picking berries and mushrooms, too.
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23 Responses to Skype

  1. Yonah says:

    Brian, I’m pointing out that it’s hypocritical for those who use derogatory language towards those who support Microsoft and proprietary software to complain when they get a taste of their own medicine.

    The initial concept of FLOSS is not extreme, unless you declare that ALL other software outside of FLOSS is technically inferior in every way (factually incorrect) or immoral (matter of opinion). Bonus points if there is a call for the complete exile of all proprietary software.

  2. We have had some bad weather here lately so I watched some TV. I saw a few Android/Linux ads and a lot of M$’s ads. At least for mobile, Linux is getting a fair shake this time.

    I doubt either camp will convert the other. The battle is for the consumers/businesses and mindshare. I doubt name-calling will do much there. It’s performance/price that people care about. There just are no good reasons to use that other OS and that frustrates some who see that other OS as important in their lives.

  3. Brian Page says:

    Whoa, hold on.

    You say that name calling and foul language are justified because they help defend MS from FLOSS advertising?

    That’s quite the overreaction.
    Also, very pot-called-the-kettle.

    By that logic, it’s OK for my to the punch the clerk in the face if I get short-changed.

  4. Dr Loser says:

    For information:

    Wintard (coined 1999).

    I think you’ll find that “FOSStard” is a relatively recent and imitative coinage.

    But then, as we all know, That Other OS and its adherents routinely steal what is best about Linux and make it their own…

  5. FLOSS is not extreme. It is mainstream and has been for many years. When I was young, FLOSS was the norm. Software was freely shared. Now with GPL etc. it is more formal but it still works. M$ and Oracle are the extremes, copying the antics of AT&T trying to exploit a cash-cow of software.

  6. Yonah says:

    The Linux version of Skype, which never left the beta stage, has always lacked the polish and new features found in the Windows version. I’m not the only one who things so. Even people who support Linux would agree. Check out this article from back in 2008:

    Brian Page: “Why do people think it’s OK to freely use derogatory and hurtful language?”

    To provide some balance, because FOSS advocates think it’s OK to impose their views and morals on others. Take Twitter for example. If he had his way, he would take away my choice to purchase and use proprietary software. This guy has a long history of demonizing Microsoft, a software company. Is that rational behavior? Does it have anything to do with the possibility he runs a computer company that provides non-Microsoft products? One has to wonder.

    You want to support an extreme idea? Fine, do so. But when you start advertising it to people, all the while making irrational arguments, spouting baseless claims, and throwing around false information, you’re going to get some very negative feedback.

  7. Richard Chapman says:

    The TEs (Technical Evangelists) are not paid by Microsoft. Microsoft may not be able to build an OS for the 21st Century but they know how to build a propaganda machine better than anyone. The TEs are hired and paid by employment agencies. There is no connection to Microsoft other than their agenda. This isn’t paranoia, it’s right out of Comes vs Microsoft. It doesn’t take long to spot their crude tactics. They have one aim and as such are one dimensional.

  8. Zombie Chan says:

    “This behaviour is part of M$’s Technological Evangelism, a technique taught to the salesmen at M$. One of the goals is to sideline any competing technology, such as thin clients, as only acceptable to incompetent people. M$ never does that directly but sets all kinds of wheels in motion to see that it happens.”

    Actually… they’re called Trolls and are not getting paid by Microsoft.. They get paid with your reaction. Believe or not, Microsoft isn’t training shills, (Well maybe the marketing department still spread FUD, but most Marketing Departments are terrible). If you met a few MS developers, you’ll realize that they are Pro-FOSS. They use a bunch of software under the GNU or other Open Source licenses.

  9. twitter says:

    People pay for VOIP services that connect them to legacy networks. I know several people who were paying for Skype services and I use Vonage myself. Both are very reliable and the gnu/linux Skype client is more than adequate. I look forward to the day that everyone is off legacy networks and the cost of communication is dropped to about $40/month but that is still plenty of money for companies like Skype.

    The Windows client is not worth while. No features can make up for the fact that it runs on Windows, which is unacceptably unreliable for communications services. This is why no major carrier is touching Windows Phoney 7. Their desktop OS are even worse. This is a significant problem for online commerce in general. No one should ever put a credit card number into Windows.

  10. I totally agree. I sometimes edit comments to cut out such garbage if there are other redeeming features. If there is persistance, I ban the commenter.

    This behaviour is part of M$’s Technological Evangelism, a technique taught to the salesmen at M$. One of the goals is to sideline any competing technology, such as thin clients, as only acceptable to incompetent people. M$ never does that directly but sets all kinds of wheels in motion to see that it happens.

    It is also a sure sign that the one using that kind of appellation has a very weak argument.

  11. Brian Page says:

    off topic, but relevant.

    Robert Pogson, you should do a piece on what people are trying to say when they use language like “FOSStard” or “Freetard”.

    I assume they are trying to say that people who advocate the use of free, libre, and open source software are (or ar associated somehow to being) mentally retarded.
    Why else would the pair up these words?

    Why do people think it’s OK to freely use derogatory and hurtful language?
    Why do we just accept it without critically examining the source of such claims?

    Would it be OK if I filled my posts with swear words? No.
    Would we all sit comfortably if I tossed around the n-word? No, of course not.
    Can we try to maintain some civility here? Yes, I think we can.

    some food for thought:

  12. I have it installed on two GNU/Linux boxes here. It works very well as far as I can see.

  13. Ur clothes, give zim to me says:

    The Linux version was never as good as the Windows version and so few people use it anyways.

    Exactly my experience, the Linux version was crap as it was so problematic.

    Plus it’s not like FOSStards are willing to spend any money anyway. A company has to cater to those willing to pay.

  14. Brian Page says:

    where the heck did they dig up 8.5bn???
    are they even worth that anymore?

    (obviously) I have no clue how businesses buy each other.
    (I like to picture a macrophage chasing a virus.)
    but, MS transfers 8.5bn to Skype?
    who get’s that money?
    is Skype now worth 8.5bn? or is it worth all of Skypes assets + 8.5bn now?
    does that money go to the CEO of skype? I doubt it – since the CEO is an employee of skype. (he’d give himself a bonus at least, i’m sure)
    now that MS own’s Skype (worth 8.5bn), did they lose anything at all?

    reminds me of buying art. you paid a million dollars for this precious piece of whatever, are you a million dollars poorer? no. not at all.

  15. twitter says:

    Skype on Linux was part of the EEE PC success. It worked very well. Those tiny computers were great video phones.

    Microsoft crushing Skype is just Microsoft crushing every advantage gnu/linux has over Windows where possible. The nasty world of telco is a perfect place for this and Microsoft has been there every step of the way. Winmodems that had their brains removed for resource hogging, Windows only software was one way they made dail up suck. Broadcom wifi chipsets are a way to make wireless suck. Now they go for the top level providers, Nokia, Skype, Yahoo, etc.

    I hope this buyout will hope Microsoft more than the rest of the world but I worry about patents. Software patents have no force in most of the world, but that won’t keep Microsoft from pretending they own a gold mine if Skype had patents on their innovative P2P network.

  16. I last used Hotmail about 2000. It was horrible then. I have installed Skype on several GNU/Linux systems and found it fairly reliable.

  17. Yonah says:

    I paid for Skype and I’m sure others have as well. While in the states I purchased a SkypeIN number for incoming calls. Now in China I buy Skype credit to talk to a few people back home. Namely my father who is quite computer literature but refuses to use anything that resembles Instant Messaging.

    Skype is awesome because it has a huge user base and is dead simple to get working. All the other Skype wannabes are crap. No one is locked-in, but many people will stay because it’s a good program and a sweet service. My one complaint is that they removed the “SkypeMe” status mode.

    The Linux version was never as good as the Windows version and so few people use it anyways. None of my fellow ex-patriots use Linux, so dropping support for that platform seems perfectly logical.

  18. oe says:

    Guessing it will follow a similar trajectory to Hotmail

  19. Ur clothes, give zim to me says:

    “Brian Proffitt over at ITWorld is saying that Microsoft’s acquisition of Skype may impact Linux users.”

    I sure hope so. lulz.

  20. Yes. M$ and the world would be better off if they invested in gold or pork-bellies…

  21. Richard Chapman says:

    Brian Proffitt over at ITWorld is saying that Microsoft’s acquisition of Skype may impact Linux users. He forgot to add that Microsoft’s acquisition of Skype will more than likely negatively impact all Skype users.

    Microsoft has this knack for driving good acquisitions into the ground. The Skype purchase fits the pattern. Good-bye Skype, hello Skhype.

  22. Thanks for the link. I already have ekiga working.

  23. Dan Serban says:

    I have posted this link on my blog today, to help people choose a GNU/Linux-compatible alternative to Skype:
    There is also GNU Free Call, but it’s still in its infancy:

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