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malevolent design weblog

This blog is now defunct, but you can find more stuff over at my personal site


SkypeVoice-over-IP service Skype has been getting a lot of coverage over the past year, and rightfully so. The branding is simple, with no attempt to dress up their offerings in the corporate buzzwords and obfuscation used by huge telecoms companies. They’ve approached internet telephony from the internet side, appealing to the kind of people who first used Google and spread word amongst their less geeky friends. How on earth did Microsoft, AOL and Yahoo! let them slip in and grab market share that was theirs for the taking via instant messaging?

Trotters Independent TradersEveryone talks about how SkypeOut lets you make cheap calls to landlines/mobiles, but SkypeIn is more intriguing to me. It lets you have a landline in any one of eight countries, so I could have a Danish telephone number and calls to it would be routed to me from there via VoIP. At around 20 quid per year (with voicemail included) it looks great value, and don’t be surprised if small businesses with big ambitions use it to indulge in daft New York - Paris - Peckham-type pretence.

(It’s not all good news in the VoIP world; there are quality issues, problems with integrating with offline services, and we’re already seeing governments and companies around the world getting involved in political manoeuvring and iffy blocking tactics. If the packet-switching dirty tricks haven’t yet started, they probably soon will.)


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