Could Skype Crush the Telco’s?

SkypeAs you would probably realise I have been away for a few days. I was blown away by the news that Skype has applied for a patient that indicates that it might in the future offer free calls to any phone worldwide for free!

The patient has not received much publicity to this point, mainly because the call from objectors has not been made. That happens on the 1st of August. Prepare for war, that date is looming. The Patient’s title is “The Whole World Can Talk for Free”. Yes that’s been their slogan for a long time. But I refer to Russell Shaw’s reply:

Yes, of course I know Skype has been using this phrase in their marketing for a year now, and it appears on their home page. But why go to the point of registering it.. now? Is this basically a butt-cover to forestall similar phraseology from competitors who Skype fears may underprice them, or are there larger forces at work?

This is huge. We may be in the first stages of a major restructuring of the global communications market. That is to say nothing about the impact that this will or may have in Australia. In Australia we are ripped off supremely for phone calls and access. In addition to that we pay twice when we phone a landline using Skype; we pay for the broadband access, we pay for the call. Admittedly I would have payed for the broadband anyway but in my opinion this is a double dip.

One thing that may or may not be happening in other countries is that the major Telco in Australia (Telstra) charges everyone an access fee to a landline. Not so strange you say. What about the fact that if I choose not have a phone line and just use VoIP for my calls via my broadband connection; I still need to have a landline in order to get the broadband! So Telstra charge me for access to the line that I have to have then I have to pay for my Internet connection on top of that then I have to pay for my Skype calls to landlines and mobiles on top of that! See my point. So how might this rumour affect me should this prediction come true?

I could see the major Telstra off-setting the loss of revenue with an increased charge for access. Not only that they will charge like a wounded bull for the ignorant few that are left with no knowledge of Skype. So based on that I am not sure how this one will resolve. I am crossing my fingers…

For those of you that might doubt the power of the Skype marketing engine. Just remember that Skype have been offering free outbound calls in America for the last couple of months, what is there stopping them from extending this globally. With the right business model of course. In addition I think an inclined to agree with Shaw in that to take advantage of this you will probably have to make some form of financial commitment to some service that Skype offers. Still that given I think that it will beat the Telco’s hands down as far as value for money. We will no longer be held to ransom by these companies that insist on ripping us off blind!

In summary though I see trouble on the horizon for Telecommunication Companies that will need to drastically revise their business model in order to stay in the game. If they are not scared now they should be, this was always coming and it is on our doorstep now. I will be very interested to see what happens on the 1st of August. I am thinking that there will be a long list of objectors.

Of course this is all speculation but time will tell.


Trillian 4: Developers Blog

As people may or may not know. I use Trillian as my instant messenger client. I even payed for the Pro version. The developers have been very, very quiet the last 6 months but now they are offering “tit-bits” on their blog for the faithful.

For people that have never heard of Trillian, it is an IM client that works across all networks. I don’t have all the separate programs running like MSN, Yahoo or ICQ (it also covers Jabba and AOL). I just have one that accesses these networks. So what I do have is an identity for each network and Trillian pulls all these together into one client. The good thing about this is that I do not have to run these separate applications and I am not locked into one network or the other. It has a small footprint and it works well. There are also plug-ins that you can get as well. There is a free version if you want to check it out.

The latest version is version three. For ages now the development team have been very quiet about any further development. The rumblings in the Trillian community have been everything ranging from they are not developing Trillian and they have abandoned the users. To whatever they are working on is going to be so good that we will be blown away. I am not sure what the developers have been doing or what their intentions are. I however do not think that they have abandoned their users. That said one criticism of Cerulean Studios is the fact that they offer very little to reassure the user base that they are working hard in development. They offer a blog entry every couple of months.

The latest is a screen shot of the new version of Trillian. But it is a very lame log in window screen shot. I would have loved to have seen the main screen of Trillian rather than the log in screen! I think this is a bit of a cop out and I think that they could have given users a bit more of a preview.

That said it looks like we might see a new version of Trillian before the end of the year. I know that is a wide projection but Trillian have refused to say when the new version will be out… period. I guess given other companies’ (“Vista”) ability to keep to promised time-lines, you can not disappoint people if you don’t give one!

But hey Trillian dudes give us a bit more than a log in screen!

The other minor thing that they have announced is a name change for version four. That being “Trillian Astra”. Sounds like an Aussie car to me… very funny. That announcement is accompanied by another lame web page… [update: this page now relates to Trillian Astra with previews and Beta testers login – changed from the original time this was posted] …please. I really hope we get more than this “…in the coming weeks”.

Update: Removed dead links and reviewed relevance of links. The reason being is the same links have been used for newer content related to Astra.