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CES Feature Articles

January 06, 2011

Can VoIP Software Provider Skype Live up to the Hype?

The excitement was intoxicating as I signed in to hear and watch Skype’s (News - Alert) keynote speech at the 2011 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas streaming live. How could it not be? The live chat was filled with anticipation as one viewer commented, “I’ve been waiting for this all week.” Viewing numbers rapidly increased - 234 … 238 … 263… - and then, nothing. About ten minutes past the scheduled airing time, rumblings began via Facebook, Twitter and live chat: Skype is having difficulty with VoIP, ironic. Sure enough, it was broadcasted that the Skype CES (News - Alert) broadcast would be aired later this afternoon – a recording.

Luckily, with many viewers scrambling to find out Skype’s deal - Is the keynote still happening? When? Did the CEO get cold feet? - it came to my attention that the Skype keynote was in fact happening as scheduled and as Phone Scoop’s live blog reported, “1:38 PM: The CEO is apologizing for the recent Skype outage that affected its millions of customers. They posted a report on what it learned during the outage. Skype was surprised by the customer response to the issue.”

Tony Bates (News - Alert), Skype’s CEO, continued revealing facts about Skype’s 520 million voice minutes per day, and how Skype’s video chat app was downloaded four million times in the first 24 hours, seeing one million video calls. Bates also unveiled that group calling is now available for consumers and enterprises, and group video is only available via the desktop. In other news, Skype is working to bring Skype to televisions, in cars, in video baby monitors, as well as bring it to a school nearest you. However, those of us waiting patiently for an online broadcast are still in shock by the outage.

Luckily, bigger news shadows the unexpected VoIP failure, as it was announced that Skype would be acquiring Qik, a provider of mobile video software and services that lets people capture and instantly share video from anywhere. For the price of $100 million, Skype and Qik (News - Alert) will now share a common purpose of enriching communications with video. As Bates blogged, “the acquisition of Qik will help to accelerate our leadership in video by adding recording, sharing and storing capabilities to our product portfolio.” Let’s hope so after today.

As Qik brought in the new year, the company blogged, “As we ring in the New Year, we have many things to celebrate at Qik….We started 2010 with 600,000 Qik users, and saw significant growth over the year as we rolled out new apps and worked with great partners like Sprint, T-Mobile, Nokia, Samsung and others to bring the power of Qik to smartphones everywhere.”

Qik and Skype were meant to be, as recently Skype released its application for the latest version of the smartphone device, allowing millions of mobile users around the world to make and receive Skype video calls to anyone, anywhere for the first time ever. Available at the Apple App Store, the application is compatible with the iPhone (News - Alert), iPad and iPod Touch, as long as the devices are on a WiFi connection or AT&T’s 3G mobile network.

Jaclyn Allard is a TMCnet copy editor. She most recently worked on the production team at Juran Institute, a quality consulting firm producing its own training and marketing materials. Previously, she interned at Curbstone Press, a nonprofit publishing press in Willimantic, CT, and fulfilled the role of Editor-in-Chief for the literature and arts journal published by the University of Connecticut. To read more of her articles, please visit her columnist page.

Edited by Jaclyn Allard

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