Writing on the wall for Google Voice
Apr 20th, 2014 by Ken Hagler

The very useful GrowlVoice app has been killed off by Google, as part of their ongoing move to get rid of Google Voice in favor of Google Hangouts, which does none of the things Google Voice is useful for. I had replaced Skype shortly after the Microsoft purchase with a combination of services that work together, of which Google Voice is an important part. It’s unfortunate that Google seems determined to get rid of it in favor of something which does nothing I want and isn’t useful to me in the slightest. Still, their move against third-party apps like GrowlVoice is a pretty clear sign that I need to look for an alternative.

Amusing sales pitch
Jun 24th, 2011 by Ken Hagler

While trying to get my cable modem speed upgraded, the cable company salesman tried to pitch me their home phone service for $30/month. When I pointed out that I’m currently paying $5/month for Skype, he said that their home phone service wasn’t VoIP, so it would work when the Internet connection was out. In other words, I should pay six times as much for their service because the other service they’re already providing is so unreliable. I guess cable service salesman is one job that requires a good sense of humor.

Bad news for Skype
Jun 19th, 2011 by Ken Hagler

Skype fires several managers after Microsoft deal clears. Although Microsoft has made Skype a separate division within its organization and has promised continued support for its existing structure, the cuts are unlikely to assuage fears that Microsoft may reshape Skype in a way that hurts non-Windows platforms or Skype itself. [Electronista]

They certainly aren’t assuaging my fears any. I jettisoned my overpriced PSTN service in favor of Skype six years ago and have generally been happy with it, but even before the Microsoft purchase their support for OS X was indifferent and for iOS downright bad. I wouldn’t be terribly surprised to see Skype become Windows-only in the future. Not only that, Microsoft has a history of buying perfectly good products and wrecking them.

Bad news for Skype users
May 27th, 2011 by Ken Hagler

The big news this month is that Microsoft is buying Skype. That’s bad news for me, as I replaced my old-fashioned landline with Skype years ago. While I was already using it mostly on my Windows machine, I did also occasionally make Skype calls from my Mac laptop and my iPad. Skype was already somewhat indifferent in their support of Apple OSes (they never did release an iPad-specific version), and we can expect that to get worse or be dropped entirely once the purchase goes through. We can also expect them to ruin the Windows version with thousands of “features” that nobody wants.

No such luck
Apr 14th, 2009 by Ken Hagler

L@@K: eBay spinning off Skype, IPO coming in 2010. companion photo for L@@K: eBay spinning off Skype, IPO coming in 2010

Over the weekend, rumors surfaced that Skype’s founders, Niklas Zennström and Janus Friis, were attempting to buy the VoIP service back from eBay. It turns out that, yes, eBay is intent on getting rid of Skype, but it won’t be sold right back to its founders. Instead, the online auction giant will spin off the VoIP service via an IPO some time in 2010.

When eBay first purchased Skype from Zennström and Friis in September 2005, we were skeptical of the synergies eBay hoped to realize from the purchase. With the spinoff announcement, it looks as though eBay has realized this as well. “Skype is a great stand-alone business with strong fundamentals and accelerating momentum,” said eBay CEO, John Donahoe in a statement. “But it’s clear that Skype has limited synergies with eBay and PayPal. We believe operating Skype as a stand-alone publicly traded company is the best path for maximizing its potential.”

Click here to read the rest of this article
[Ars Technica]

That’s unfortunate, as it means the Skype will remain an American company under the thumb of the Evil Empire.

Possible good news
Apr 13th, 2009 by Ken Hagler

Four years later, Skype’s founders looking to buy it back. companion photo for Four years later, Skype's founders looking to buy it back

The popular VoIP service Skype started out as an independent company, and it may soon end up the same way. Skype’s founders, Niklas Zennstrom and Janus Friis, are reportedly looking for ways to buy the company back from eBay, after having sold it to the auction giant in 2005. eBay may be open to such a deal too, as the two companies have had trouble meshing right from the start.

Zennstrom and Friis sold Skype to eBay in 2005 for US$2.6 billion in cash and stock, with the possibility of an additional $1.5 billion payout if certain financial goals were met. At the time, eBay planned to integrate Skype’s technologies into its online auction business, providing buyers with a “click to call” button on auctions so that they could ask questions and communicate with sellers. eBay also postulated that it could use Skype on its own customer support site, giving consumers a problem-solving option in addition to eBay’s Web interface.

Click here to read the rest of this article
[Ars Technica]

I’m hoping that this sale happens. I don’t have much use for telephone service, but when I do I use Skype, and I’d really prefer it if any telecommunications service I use weren’t owned by Americans.

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