At a Skype’s CES 2009 press conference today recently appointed COO Scott Durchslag provided the first hints of a vision statement for Skype under its new executive team along with some initial software offerings that hint at the direction Skype is taking towards “liquid communications” or “Skype Whenever, Wherever”.
- Skype now delivers 8% of the world’s telecom minutes through clients that now support 28 languages
- New software will drive a liquid experience on the desktop, web, TV and mobile devices
- A key goal is to liberate the Skype experience from a captive device (desktop) to more user aware devices (mobile, TV as well as embedded into appliances)
- 41% of Skype calls on Christmas day involved video, only to be surpassed at 47% on New Years day.
- New software offerings have to pass a bar of four basic criteria:
- high call quality
- super simple user interface
- sensitivity to power management issues
He then went on to talk about new software offerings:
- New desktop clients: Skype for Mac 2.8 (launched as beta at Mac World Monday), Skype for Windows 4.0 (with a February release date)
- Release of Skype Lite, a thin client for Java-enabled mobile phones with Skype for Android to be available within a few days on Android Market on T-Mobile’s G1TM and Skype Lite general availability in the U.S. (in addition to several countries previously announced) resulting in Skype availability on over 100 mobile smartphones.
- Internally developed new Skype “SILK” audio codec which is twice as efficient with respect to bandwidth requirements for the audio and video experience.
- Skype for Mobile Internet Devices with a demonstration on a couple of MID platforms.
- Skype for Mac 3.0 to be available by year end with the feature set of Skype 4.0 for Windows.
This afternoon Phil and I spent an hour with Scott discussing the restructuring, support issues, the TOM Skype Breach and how Skype will work with its developer partners to provide a win-win direction for the development and marketing of partner applications. These topics will be the subject of future posts over the next week.
First impression: it’s the first event where a senior Skype executive has provided in a public forum an outline of its vision, guidelines for achieving that vision and how it wants to work in the real time communication and IP-based conversation space. The real challenge now lies in the execution.
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