In the 2nd part of the series about really bad decisions that cut user experiences I will shed a light on the recent topic Skype was involved into: Kicking competitors:
First they kicked the multi-protocol fring in a way that they had to remove Skype support for their clients. SkypeJournal recently explained the _why_..
Still bad for the users. E.g. for people like myself who still use an iPhone3G that doesn’t support multitasking.
fring not only offered voice and video support for Skype, but they also offered a promptly replying customer support, sometimes quicker than Skype itself.
SkypeJournal states fring violated their ToS. This is true, but they didn’t do it since just yesterday but since years and Skype didn’t bother.
What nobody mentions: Skype even supported fring and sent people their way as soon as somebody asked Skype “When is Skype for iPhone coming out?” or “is there any Skype for iPhone planned?”.
Even weeks after Skype officially offered Skype for iPhone in the AppStore, I was still sent to to fring when asking about certain things regarding Skype for iPhone.
Conclusion: It was perfectly fine for Skype to send people to fring for using Skype on their iPhone because despite the violation of SKype’s ToS, it still meant money for Skype: People e.g. could do SkypeOut calls on their iPhone using fring which means Skype earns money here this way.
When Skype forced fring to stop supporting SKype, people like me moved to Nimbuzz, the competitor of fring. The client for the iPhone is way slower and the customer support takes a week or two to reply on emails and fix issues sometimes but hey it was multi-protocol supporting Skype, and it worked.
Then a month ago, Nimbuzz got kicked by Skype as well.
A huge let down for Skype lovers like me who want multi-presence in the IM world (which would mean in my case, being available on ICQ/AIM, Skype and Facebook Chat at the same time) who still have a non-multi-tasking mobile phone like the iPhone3G.
We learned from the past, that the fact that newer iPhones have been relased doesn’t mean the older ones will suddenly disappear. If you check the markets there are still tons of old iPhones around. Just because there are old doesn’t mean they are not worth using it anymore. Even Apple saw this and still includes the IPhone3G in their newest iOS updates (even though not supporting some features the 3GS and the 4 have).
Skype is going to lose a huge mobile user market here. Just because Skype is available for iPhone and Android doesn’t mean people are going to use them.
So what are the alternatives?
Well, another alternative is imo.im. You will notice the tons os positive user reviews regarding this application. But there is one big problem: They cannot handle strong passwords so in many cases you have to change your password into a less secure one to be able to login to any network they support. I have emailed them a couple of times about this and even wrote it in the forum on their official Facebook page (in which they sometimes reply to people) but well, they never replied to me and even bothered fixing this pretty important issue.
Looking for alternatives, I was finally forced to buy IM+ (the lite version doesn’t feature Skype support).
MY experience with Shape was always a good one (hey offered Skype on iPhone long before many other companies).
If multi-protocol IM (especially on mobiles) is the future what did Skype about this?!
They went with supporting MySpace IM, which failed so horribly that they simply removed it recently.
(Quote: “Important: This feature is not available in Skype 5 and above.“).
Anybody to prove me wrong?