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Late yesterday (well for me as I'm in Philadelphia this week) Om Malik sent a note to Alec Saunders and me to give him our perspective on the Skype - Facebook video news of yesterday (another deal likely led by the recently exiled Christopher Dean of Skype) for his email essay newsletter simply titled Om Says (which you should sign up for.)
In his irregular opinion newsletter Om shares why the deal is good for Facebook, while Messrs. Saunders and Abramson point out the rationale for Skype.
"Alec Saunders, a veteran of internet telephony argued that since Skype is too quirky for his wife and too weird for his mother, Facebook’s version actually might be a good thing for Skype usage and will get them to a billion people.
The questions is to what end? Andy Abramson who blogs about internet telephony believes that in the end it will be about Facebook vs Google. To that extent I agree. Ironically Skype, which at one point wanted to turn carriers into dumb pipes is being turned into a dumb pipe itself."
Today, GigaOm's Ryan Kim picks up the ball explaining how it was all done, citing Skype's genius in residence Jonathan Rosenberg, who guides science and is widely credited with being one of the fathers of SIP. In my view it is Rosenberg and my winepal, Jason Fischl's efforts that led to this and the roots go back to almost when Rosenberg left Cisco to join Skype. Back in 2010 at eComm in Burlingame, Rosenberg presented the argument to the smarties in the audience, and to some of us one-on-one, that Skype could be social, and a WebOs was the way to go.
That and the fact that Skype will see revenue as they begin to offer paid services to the Facebook crowd (Skype Out, Skype In, Group Video) etc., thus makes Skype an exchange, using someone else's pipe. As such while Facebook may look at Skype as a dumb pipe, when you add in the recent Comcast video deal Skype starts to look more and more like a real true consumer play on face. But, as social networks continue to infect business (look at LinkedIn and Twitter) the reachability via Facebook/Skype --aka SkypeBook starts to take hold.
Then there is ad revenue. Skype has been experimenting with Dynanmic content on their Windows PC client for the past few years. Facebook and relevance opens up a whole new avenue for this and while it's minor now, the down the road opportunities are very large--imagine the possibilities.
Net net---I see this as a good deal and one that will only get better for both over time.