Word breaking out right now from multiple sources is that Skype has killed off the Skype for Asterisk product developed in conjunction with Digium. In an email sent by Digium product management that was subsequently posted on web sites (including Digium's), the company says (my emphasis added):
Skype for Asterisk was developed by Digium in cooperation with Skype. It includes proprietary software from Skype that allows Asterisk to join the Skype network as a native client. Skype has decided not to renew the agreement that permits us to package this proprietary software. Therefore Skype for Asterisk sales and activations will cease on July 26, 2011.
Skype will apparently continue to support the SFA software for an additional two years until July 26, 2013.
Skype For Asterisk was announced with great fanfare back at Astricon in 2008. I wrote about how it might tear down some of the walls of Skype's proprietary walled garden and posted multiple follow-up posts, including a detailed dive into Asterisk interconnection and how Skype could help with that.
The beautiful part was that Skype For Asterisk allowed two-way communication into the Skype cloud... allowing you to make calls to Skype recipients in ways that you couldn't with other options.
There was certainly great hope within the open source sides of the VOIP world that Skype For Asterisk, a.k.a. "SFA", would go far to connect the world of Skype to the larger world of SIP and IP communications.
In September 2009, Skype announced on their blog that Skype For Asterisk was available to all and there were ongoing posts on other sites about SFA usage. (Including Tim Panton's cool integration of Google Wave, Skype and Asterisk)
Sign of the Microsoft Era?
Now obviously we're not privy to the contract negotiations between Digium and Skype. Perhaps it is simply a case of the two companies not agreeing to terms. Maybe Skype wanted more money... maybe Skype didn't want to do the support for SFA... maybe it didn't hit Skype's revenue targets... maybe it's just cleaning up Skype's various business units before the Microsoft acquisition...
Let's hope not... but time will tell.
Fred Posner perhaps stated this concern best in his blog post this afternoon:
Digium announced today the official end of Skype for Asterisk– ending anyone’s dream of a more friendly, open, Skype under Microsoft.
UPDATE - May 25, 2011: Tim Panton, a developer who was among the early users of Skype For Asterisk and has been involved in the Asterisk and VoIP community for years, wrote a thoughtful post: The long slow death of Skype for Asterisk. Tim notes the apparent tension between Skype and Digium from the early days of the product and offers the opinion that Skype probably just had no intention to renew the agreement in any event. Tim's post is well worth a read as he is someone who actually worked with the SFA product a great bit.
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