Give Om Malik lots of credit. On the heels of his super successful Mobilize Conference yesterday he's breaking the news on Skype winding down it's extra's program.
This likely means two things:
1) Skype is going to internalize more development
2) Skype will begin offering more services that are labeled as Skype, vs. from third parties.
In my view this means that Skype will be ramping up services like conference calling, auto-attendant, faxing, deliver a more robust find me/follow me service and expand their mobile handset client software efforts.
While initially, the developers who built the Extras program up will be alarmed, I think this shows us one more thing. People want to talk but not much more than that.
More thoughts-I think this puts more emphasis on the Skype APIs and third party developers who want to leverage Skype as a pipe, not only as an application. By getting rid of the "Extras" Skype also is able to present a cleaner balance sheet, as the revenue for extras was really more of a pass through with Skype minutes and credit balances in users accounts paying the bills to the Extra's suppliers. In essence the "Extras" made the numbers look fatter and now with more prudent management and investment, Skype will be able to cleanly show how much money is really staying within the company, than reporting one that really what is nothing more than a collections and payment disbursement operation.
Initially this may look like Skype is just killing off their young, something they have been accused of in the past. My expanded view though is that there is more coming behind this as Skype both internalizes what can make them money and how they can play in the "Open" world, which is where the Developer Program, led by ex Counterpath CTO Jason Fischl begins to take shape.