Switzerland based blogger J.A. Watson has written a lengthy summary of the ills of Skype, largely targeting the UK based operation judging by his comments.
In his post today he questions their decision around the London number issue that is impacting 10,000 issued numbers, the issues around their so called HD video involving Logitech and what users really wanted, buggy software and the lack of customer service.
The last one is an issue that I think impacts all so called start-ups, but as pal Om says about companies that get bought by the likes of eBay or Google "they're not start ups anymore" which means in my book, the gloves come off and support has to be there.
Watson's analysis jives with my own. Skype is leaderless and unable to focus on the core issues that it has today until such time as they decide from a handful of candidates for the top slot soon.
The core issues are:
1) Customer centric approach (or the lack of)
2) Development Process of the core service offering for the future
3) Eco-system development-partners-software, carrier and developer--so far only the developer program really seems to have a focus and that's only since Paul Amery arrived. The prior effort was more at eBayizing Skype, something that really led nowhere. There is little publicity around any licensing enforcement meaning a partner company that develops a product is afforded little licensing protection against an upstart which makes a product that is Skype compatible, and is non-licensed.
4) How to work with a growing SIP based world
5) No real 3G mobile strategy--iSkoot is a nice stopgap for 3 but it won't fly far unless it is a real 3G play
With leadership out of California, operations in London and programming in Estonia, Skype is also suffering from a shuttle approach to management. The new head of Skype needs to have two years of full authority, have his or her direct reports in one place and streamline the time to market for Skype to return to their extreme style that got them sold. If not, they will just be another brand on the telco hiway very quickly.