Tuesday, April 6, 2004

Skype is much better

Just spent over an hour on a Skype call with Matt this morning. Wow. The first time around, I had several significant complaints about Skype — I was in the minority at the time, but the sound quality for me was terrible. I had several drops, a couple cases where it would go several seconds between any sound, and more often than not it sounded like I was talking to someone through a garbage pail.

Not anymore. The sound quality was excellent — not quite telephone quality (there were occasional metallic clips to the audio) but often quite close. Matt and I were on the line for well over an hour, and never once did the connection feel choppy or inconsistent.

Now, there’s plenty of debate over the business model and whether Skype can make money. But Michael Powell (embattled FCC chair) clearly gets it when he says:

“I knew it was over when I downloaded Skype,” Michael Powell, chairman, Federal Communications Commission, explained. “When the inventors of KaZaA are distributing for free a little program that you can use to talk to anybody else, and the quality is fantastic, and it’s free – it’s over. The world will change now inevitably.” Fortune Magazine, 16th February 2004

They’ve got $18.8m in the bank, and today they just announced a mobile version that will work on your wifi-enabled PocketPC PDA. (Link via John Robb.)

Mike Masnick is right: the business model may be tricky, but that doesn’t mean that the product offerings won’t get better during the bubble.

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