Whither Skype Extras III? On the Skype Store Apps Page

Since the demise of the Skype Extras program was first announced two years ago, several of the developers with third party applications worked to wean themselves off a dependence on the Skype Extras program for their survival. However, the products remained available via the fairly innocuous and plain Skype Extras page on the Skype Store.

S4W5_5.GetAppsYesterday I learned that a new, unannounced, menu item had been slipped into the Tools menu of Skype for Windows 5.5 as shown on the right.

Click on the Get Apps… and you go to a new page on the Skype Store:

 

SkypeStore.AppsPage.25Aug11

A couple of points:

  • It’s called an App Directory, not an App Store. While there is a detailed description for each application , the “Get Now” Links go to an App Store or a file download; on installing the file, you will be led to the individual application developer’s “store” page.
    • For instance, the link to Qik Video for Apple takes you to the iTunes preview page with a link for purchase on the Apple App Store.
  • Currently listed products comprise previously available third party products or Skype utility products listed in the Apple or Android app stores.
  • Applications are categorized by “genre” such as Business, Call Recording (audio and video), Call Recording  (audio only), Faxing, Desktop and Whiteboard Sharing, etc.

In a discussion with Ash Valeski, Skype’s Senior Account Manager for the Skype Store he pointed out:

  • This is simple a starting point for building a third party applications distribution channel. The SkypeKit team wants to have a distribution channel that provides awareness of forthcoming applications while supporting publishers who currently have applications that use the legacy Skype API’s.
    • Expect to see more features added to this page over time.
  • SkypeStore.CommentIDThey have reduced the available applications to those that are currently active and appropriately supported by the application publisher, including the availability of a shopping cart where payment is required.
  • There is a carousel rotating through top downloads (free and paid) and top-rated offerings.
  • The directory does provide an opportunity for ratings and short reviews (via Comments) for each application. (As a test I have submitted a comment on PamFax; note that, when you make a comment, you can sign in via Twitter, Facebook or other options.)

Bottom line: This App Directory is simply infrastructure for supporting the Skype developer program. The real challenge remains for the Skype Developer program to make SkypeKit an offering that can readily and widely be adopted by not only hardware developers but also software publishers. The initial feedback on the program has been provided in this post about a hardware partner whose offering will become available later this year.

In the meantime I still find these partners are using the legacy Skype API’s; for instance, Pamela just went through an upgrade based on the legacy Skype API’s. And, amongst the publishers listed in the App Directory, Pamela publisher Scendix is not alone in this regard. However, this launch is one small step that demonstrates that current management wants to get more proactive with both the Skype Store and the Skype Developer program.

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About Jim Courtney

Bringing over thirty years' experience in the sales, marketing and management of cutting edge technology businesses.

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