Photos from Voice Biometrics Conference 2010 - of speakers... and Manhattan...
Skype 5.0 Beta 1 with multi-party video: Phil Wolff gives a tour...

Why I'm NOT excited about Skype 5.0 with group video calls

skype5windows.jpgBy all accounts I should probably be incredibly excited about Skype's new 5.0 beta 1 with group video calling. After all, I'm a huge daily user of Skype and make video calls pretty much every day. It would be fantastic to be able to add video to some of the conference calls I do... particularly where I work with a globally distributed team.

I should be excited... but I'm not.


Because yet again, Skype continues to follow their fractured and fragmented product strategy that I've ranted about before:

Skype 5.0 Beta 1 is Windows only.

I would love to try it out and use it... I'd be glad to give Skype feedback... I'd be glad to write about it here, talk about it and show it off on my video podcast... I'd tweet about and promote it on Facebook and other sites... as a fan, I'd love to help Skype promote its services!

But I can't really.... yet.

You see, I use Macs exclusively these days. In fact, I work for a company of over 140 people... all of whom are Mac users... and all of whom are heavy Skype users. None of us can try this out. Sure... I can fire up a virtual machine and run Windows to try it out... but why bother with the headache?

In his post on the Skype blog, Peter Parkes throws out a bone to Mac users:

Oh, and for those Mac users out there, don’t worry – we’ll be launching group video calling on the Mac later in the year too :-)

Great... wake me up when you get around to having a real cross-platform strategy, Skype.

P.S. And yes, I realize that Linux Skype users are also left behind...

UPDATE #1 - To be clear, I completely understand why Skype chose to focus only on Windows. Windows has by far the largest market share and when you only have so many development resources you must choose where you focus their development effort. I get that. But Skype is trying to become the ubiquitous communication platform used by everyone. Would Firefox have been as successful as it is if it only focused on one platform?

Other softphone/video/communication clients like CounterPath's Bria and SightSpeed can come out with at least a synchronized Windows and Mac releases... it would be great if Skype could, too.

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