Is Skype an Aging Voice 2.0 Revolutionary?

Stuart Henshall , who was an early champion of Skype, isn't impressed that Skype has passed 14M concurrent users and says you "simply can't point to Skype in a way that creates the same power that it did"

"There was a time when I could point to Skype and say… “look there is a possible plausible future” for the future of telephony. It was supported by costs. I’d ask… “What’s your Skype strategy?”.  We know that Skype going from one million to two million (years ago) was many times more impactful in the boardrooms everywhere. It had and displayed dimensions that traditional telephony didn’t do well. It’s directory was better. It had presence, it had a buddylist and some privacy controls. Over time it has become more like a telecom and less like a piece of software set to revolutionize the world. A fact supported by the lack of API development and telecom communities that have sprung up around other more open solutions.

The growth of Skype hasn’t really changed telecom. It may have helped accelerate the move away from landlines and changed pricing strategies but fundamentally hasn’t impacted on mobiles. Today the growth of Facebook is more likely to change telecom. Telecom directories are obsolete in a networked world. In fact the whole idea of dialing is obsolete too. We’re looking for new methods and new services are emerging. However they are coming where telephony is more open and more likely to adapt to change. Location based services are about to explode. Strategically the “thought experiment” that Skype enabled 5+ years ago is simply no longer relevant. Today, you simply can’t point to Skype in a way that creates the same power that it did then…

…I still believe we are on the cusp of a telephony and communications revolution. The learnings we have had should now be taking us forward. As a VoIP group and industry though we better look for another counter. Looking at Skype is looking at a downstream rather than upstream indicator and that’s always a mistake.

There are new emerging services that still have just a few thousand users. They are the ones we should focus on test and write about. The gamechanges are already out there."


  1. Hi Bruce,
    Let’s start a dialogue on something new! Let’s connect.

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