Monday, March 29, 2004

Why Skype is No Different

Great link found on Lance Tracey's Blog on why Skype is no different from other VoIP services. A thoughtful analysis by Aswath Rao on what Skype really is and is not, and how its technical architecture embodies faults that undermine the P2P marketing message. Excerpt:

Some have expressed reservation because Skype is proprietary. There have been previous instances where proprietary consumer items have found wide adoption without incurring huge collective cost. VCR is one of the examples that come to mind. But in this case there are some differences:
  • Alternatives, based on standards are available

  • Skype uses mostly well-known and open technologies; only the protocol semantics is proprietary

  • Even though Skype (for that matter VoIP) is naturally a “product” and not a “service”, Skype views it as service. For example, they do not allow an enterprise to use their own GIS, instead of the global one, even if communication will be restricted to internal use alone.

  • As I am told, there is no way to directly address another client, even if the IP address is known. Windows Messenger from Microsoft has the same limitation, whereas NetMeeting allowed direct communication.

In this respect also, they are just like other VoIP providers. It is disheartening to see that even those whose middle name should be P2P, think like this.

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