This goes to provide the old adage: you snooze, you loose. In this case if you ‘snoozed’ on Skype for six months, you’d loose any money you might have put into your Skype account. Up until now, anyway. Skype was caught with its hands in your till, and has agreed to pay (some of) the money back.
It’s a simple thing really. Skype is cheap. Calls to land phones (SkypeOut) are about the only thing you pay for, but even those are cheap. Those who made such calls would have to first deposit money into their Skype accounts. Problem is, it’s really hard to spend even a pittance. So your money would sit--safe and secure, like in a savings account. Or so you thought.
If there was no activity on your Skype account for 180 days, Skype decided to assume your account was abandoned and would take the money. There one day, gone the next. But that didn’t sit well with a group of consumers who filed a class action lawsuit. The lawsuit was based on state laws regulating gift cards. Skype’s action was really no different from retailers who sold you a gift card, and later charged fees, or ‘expired’ the balance if it wasn’t used in a period of time. Unfortunately for Skype, many state laws forbid this, and these consumers alleged Skype was in violation.
It seems that Skype agrees, at least to the tune of $1.85 million, which it will put up to settle the class action. Skype users who purchased Skype Credit prior to December 31, 2009 are eligible for up to a $4 credit to their account if Skype took their money due to inactivity. (Which isn’t much solace if you had more than $4 in your account.) Skype has also said it’s discontinuing this practice--your Skype Credit is now safe, even from Skype.
Stripteases from your long distance lover are about to get a whole lot sweeter now that Skype has added support for 720p high definition video calls.
To take advantage of the new feature, you'll need to download and install Skype 4.2 Beta for Windows. You'll also need at least a 1.8GHz dual-core processor, and of course an HD webcam and broadband Internet connection.
"With HD-quality Skype video calls, we can bring our users even closer to the ones they love through an even richer, more meaningful video calling experience," said Josh Silverman, CEO of Skype. "Imagine being able to see the sparkle of your grandchild's eyes or the setting of your best friend's engagement ring. Through the innovation of Skype's engineers and our hardware partners, these scenarios are now possible without having to buy expensive equipment or software."
Skype says you can expect a spate of new HD webcams to hit the scene in early 2010, including ones from faceVsion (not a typo) and Store Solutions that have been "optimized to work with Skype."
The VoIP provider also says to expect Skype-enabled HDTVs to arrive by mid-2010.
Gizmo5 allows users to make VoIP calls over a data connection much like Skype. It seems clear that Google plans to beef up Google Voice with the technology from Gizmo5. “Gizmo5 gives us talent and talent technology. They have specific tech and skills in further integrating telephony with devices and desktop and Web-based computing,” said Horowitz. Skype already provides VoIP to 500 million users, but if any company can scale up to that level, it’s Google.
Google is already laying the groundwork for its cloud computing endeavors as well. They need users to feel secure storing data in Google’s cloud, and the creation of the Data Liberation Front goes a long way in gaining that trust. Similarly, the Google Dashboard increases data transparency at Google. According to Horowitz, Google is also aware people won’t use cloud services if that aren’t fast. So look forward to “blazing fast” cloud platforms with highly portable data in 2010… we can only hope.
Spend a little time learning Skype and you'll soon discover it's much more than a one-trick pony. Sure, Skype's bread and butter is still its ability to let users make phone calls using their broadband connection, but there's so much more you can do with this versatile app.
There are the basics, like sending and receiving instant messages with other Skype users. But did you ever think to use Skype as a make-shift home surveillance system while you're away at work? By following a few simple steps, you can see if Fido's chewing on the couch again, and if so, issue a stern warning to cut it out.
You can also use Skype to record your own Podcast, weekly rant and all. We'll show you how, but that's not all. We're also going to walk you through an assortment of tweaks and hacks to get the most out of this swiss-army utility. Consider this your go-to guide for making the most out of Skype.
It looks like you can expect Skype to continue functioning as normal. A settlement has finally been reached with the parties, including eBay and Skype founders, Niklas Zennström and Janus Friis. The legal battle started when eBay agreed to sell a 65% stake in Skype to Silver Lake Partners on September 1st. The founders sued, claiming that eBay was engaging in copyright infringement. As it turns out, eBay never actually owned the core technology behind Skype, called Global Index.
According to the settlement, Zennström and Friis, will join the investor group that is purchasing Skype. They will contribute software from their new venture, Joltid. In return, they will receive a 14% stake in Skype. When the sale is completed, eBay will be paid a cool $1.9 billion. Though, this is much less than the original purchase price for Skype. Though, the online auction house will also retain 30% of Skype.
Getting all the technology under one roof again should settle the issue of Skype’s intellectual property once and for all. Do you use Skype on a regular basis? Were you worried about its future?
The recent announcement of Skype turning quote-unquote open source has me twirling a finger with delicious glee. It's not that I dislike Skype. And it's not that I'm about to get into one of my 1,500-word debates on the differences between the definition of "free" and "open-source," I promise. This is nevertheless an important premise of Skype's entire move, as some Internet commenters are crying foul that Skype is only half-opening its popular application to the crowd. The GUI code will be yours to play with as you please. The underlying Skype protocol... nope!
To them I say: Duh.
I don't want to put words where they don't exist, but I'm willing to bet that Skype's sudden shift toward open-source waters has more to do with applying a giant, universal band-aid to staggered Linux development. It's not quite an altruistic gift to the community so much as it is a package and a bow with the phrase, "you fix it" written on the label. And that's fine. Let the community create the functional GUIs for Skype. It would be suicide for the company to release its heavily encrypted voice protocols for common use.
Skype announced that an open source version of the Linux client is currently under development in a blog post by Stanislav Karchebny. “There's an open source version of Linux client being developed. This will be a part of a larger offering, but we can't tell you much about that right now," wrote Karchebny.
The original Linux client had been released several years ago, but a new open source client could mean community focused developments. Skype expects that “having an open-source user interface will help us get adopted in the multicultural land of Linux distributions, as well as on other platforms, and will speed up further development.”
Within the comments of the post, users were hoping to see Skype also unlock the Skype Protocol to the open source community. Unless that is part of the “larger offering”, that Karchebny mentions, it appears for the moment that their plans are to open only the source to client interface.
A global phone number is like one assigned by Google Voice: yours to keep wherever you choose to wander. Global numbers came into being when the International Telephone Union (ITU) created the 883 code, which refers to the Internet rather than a country. When the 883 code is used Voxbone gets your call, routes it to the nearest Internet Service Provider (ISP), then disconnects itself so you can use the lower cost service.
How big a deal this is depends on who you ask. Robin Wauters of TechCrunch writes: “We should note there is some industry criticism around the concept of ‘HD calling’, which at times gets billed as a fancy new term that doesn’t describe anything earth-shatteringly new or innovative and something which there is no demand for.”
You know how it goes. There are times when you just need access to one of your favorite apps, but you haven’t got the time or ability to install them on whatever computer you happen to be sitting at. The Portable Apps suite has saved the day on those instances for many. Just today, Portable Apps has announced two welcome additions. You can now get portable versions of Skype and Google Chrome.
This is notable because these apps aren’t technically open-source, as previous additions to Portable Apps have been. The decision to include freeware software may not seem like a big deal, and to most it isn’t, but some open-source supporters may take issue. The new freeware apps aren’t included by default in the package, though. Like it or not, it’s nice to have choices.
Lenovo has let it be known that every single ThinkPad laptop and ThinkCentre desktop PC will come with Skype already installed.
"If you're fortunate enough to get your hands on a Lenovo ThinkPad or ThinkCentre for your home or office, be sure to keep an eye out for Skype," said Peter Parkes, Skype's chief blogger.
That's great news for private equity firm Silver Lake Partners, who bought a 65 percent share of the company last month and would like nothing more than to see Skype's market share continue to grow. While terms of the Lenovo deal have not been disclosed, there's a reason why software companies pay tidy sums to have their apps come pre-installed on OEM systems.
As for consumers, you can view it as another piece of bloatware to be nuked after first firing up your new PC, or a handy pre-install of an app you may already use anyway.