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Posts from April 28, 2013 - May 4, 2013

Skype: Get Your Payment Act Together

Image representing Skype as depicted in CrunchBaseImage via CrunchBase

Note to the Tony Bates-if you have customers, bill them as Skype, not an unknown, back office company. It's called Branding 101.  You see, it's been a few years since Skype started to charge for services, so one would think that in an era of global transactions that they would get their payment act together, especially since they are now owned by Microsoft, but treated as an off-shore owned entity.

In the past they and many of the leading USA banks have had the same problem I've seen with other off-shore merchants-they fall into the high risk of fraud, so the credit card companies and banks take a careful look at their transactions. Now that Skype accepts the American Express card, a sign that more businesses are using Skype, one has to educte their credit card companies about them. At one point Skype and CapitalOne had issues, then Barclays, all in how they presented their data to to them.

Enter WorldPay, a European processor of credit card transactions. Today, the account security group of American Express flagged some renewals on various Skype accounts we use in my agency. Of course, Skype is who I do business with, but instead of Skype being the "merchant" presented to American Express, the name provided was WorldPay, a company that has only transacted business with me four times in the past few years, and those were for purchases in the UK.

It took a while with the very helpful AMEX rep, Ahmed, who basically said "oh, yes, we often see WorldPay flagged and it ends up being Skype."

8x8's Bryan Martin Discusses the Second Coming of the Tech Boom

8x8's CEO Bryan Martin was featured in an NBC TV news feature in the Bay Area about the second coming of the technology boom in Silicon Valley as the Nasdaq, where many tech companies list their stock reached a twelve year high. Watch the video.

My take--we're seeing a new renaissance of sorts in technology. Quickly we have moved away from a hardware based economy to one of apps and services. Devices, though being replaced faster and faster, are also more relevant longer because of it. A two year old Android or iOS device is still usable and able to present data taken from the cloud and presented, while the server in the cloud gets updated every so many months with faster chips, better code and is connected to a faster, lower loss network.

-- Andy Abramson

Skype's Outlook Is Bright With Video

Kevin Tofel waxes on about Skype video in the browser today over at GigaOm. The story points out that Skype and Microsoft integrated this in to the cloud based, but are not using native RTC, and instead require a plugin.

But lets dig a bit deeper into this. The non native integration demonstrates that Microsoft and Skype don't want to be shut off out of the Google-Chrome ecosystem world. Tofel, who is using only a ChromeBook previously could not be reached via Skype, nor can I when I'm using mine. The plug-in strategy to me is a concession of sorts by Microsoft trying to not appear to be concerned about Google's Chrome OS. But they should be.

In talking with integration experts at one of Google's largest Google Apps migration partners, they are seeing thousands of seats per day migrating away from Exchange, as well as Lotus Notes, over to Google Apps. This migration has to do with costs and features. But while the first interpretation would be that the savings is only on less need for Office and Exchange licenses, the reality is that hardware costs using Chrome books are much lower overall than buying a Windows based PC, or even a Mac.

By adding Skype to the mix, but not going WebRTC, Microsoft is trying to hold on to the user base of Skype users anyway they can, and not have them swap out to GTalk or Google Hangouts.

In my company, we're switching too. After resisting the move to Google Apps for a few years, more because our Exchange hosting company Lanlogic are so awesome, I finally took the advice of Vidtel's Scott Wharton and a few others and started the process. And as part of that switch we'll be using Google Talk more, and likely it will take away from the use of Skype for IM and calling. With integration with GoogleVoice and UberConference so easy in the Chrome browsers on any device I'm basically feeling less and less yearning to be so Skype loyal. Maybe if and when they embrace WebRTC, but so much of what is being done is designed to perpetuate Microsoft and their installed base. Instead what I'm feeling in my gut is a departure from them, and the rise of the next OS.

-- Andy Abramson

Location:United States