Predictions? Wish List? What’s In Store for 2008..

Having reflected on Skype’s accomplishments in 2007 and some of the more interesting devices and technologies that have crossed my way, now for my projections for 2008. (In the interest of enhanced objectivity — not that I can be totally objective — I have yet to read Phil’s 37 Sketchy 2008 Skype Predictions or Andy’s The Road in 2008 (links below after you have read this <gr>).

1. eBay will appoint a new Skype CEO in the first quarter. Andy has his insights into the search.

2. The new CEO will focus on “Delight the User”

  • Introduce customer support plans (limited free and premium paid)
  • Provide <24 hour response time on customer support requests
  • Hire a Chief Marketing Officer who understands the role of, and process for, marketing a technology platform to both consumers and small businesses.
  • Provide guidelines on optimizing end user configurations for highest quality voice and video.
  • Set challenging goals for increasing SkypeIn and SkypeOut minutes used.
  • Change Skype business and management structure to support the development and marketing of platforms as opposed to services
  • Build a “Skype Inside” marketing program for Skype hardware
  • Build a blogger relations program
  • Improve dialogues with Developer Partners

3. Skype will introduce multi-party video conferencing (may initially only be three party)

4. Skype will focus on licensing two platforms:

  • Skype real time conversation infrastructure (to additional social networking platforms beyond MySpace)
  • Skype Developer API Toolkit: to include web services support

5. Skype users will rush out to replace their PC’s with Dual Core processors and their webcams with Logitech Carl-Zeiss optics webcams to take full advantage of Skype High Quality Video.

6. Skype will revitalize the Skype hardware program, improving hardware partner relationships, building a more effective hardware distribution channel (especially in North America) and building consumer awareness of Skype as a premium real time conversation offering.

  • Skype will figure out how to open a Skype store for the 3.5 million Canadians.who have registered on Skype.

7. Skype will have to support emergency services for customers with SkypeIn numbers in countries requiring this.

  • SkypeIn numbers for Canada will become available within three months of providing emergency services access for UK SkypeIn numbers.

8. The Skype Partner program’s business solutions providers will start to gain significant traction amongst the small and professional services business community.

9. Skype will execute on some form of significantly enhanced business relationship with Google.

10. Skypephone will become available in the U.S. via T-Mobile (and the Skypephone will be modified to support the required additional 850 MHz GSM band.)

11. Skype will upgrade its presence engine to deal with the fact that we may have multiple concurrent logins, especially on at least one PC and one mobile device.

12. Skype will gain significant placement on mobile devices.

  • How extensively this goes depends on the (low cost) availability of “public” WiFi and./or 3G network access.
  • note that I did not necessarily say there will be a mobile device Skype VoIP client.
  • Should more (GSM) carriers invoke UMA/GAN we will see Skype continue the current “mobile” trend of IM over the data network with voice connectivity over the carrier’s inherent voice network.

13. Skype will conclude deals for local termination services in many more countries to improve SkypeIn and SkypeOut call quality.

14. Someone at Skype will review all the SkypeIn provider contracts to ensure we can keep our SkypeIn numbers permanently. (And Londoners will learn that their area code is simply “020”, not “020n”.)

15.eBay will begin reporting Skype usage numbers that are meaningful, such as number of users who actually made at least one Skype call in the previous quarter.

Will be interesting to see how much of these predictions actually play out but one can always hope for the best.

Happy New Year and Happy Skyping in 2008!

And for other predictions:

  • Phil Wolff’s 37 Sketchy 2008 Skype Predictions
  • Andy Abramson: The Road in 2008
  • Ken Camp articulates his perspectives on Mobility, VoIP, Video, SOAP/SaaS and Social Media/Social Networking in his Unified Communications Watch List 2008. Well worth a read, especially for his comments on the decline of Windows Mobile — a trend I have also noticed.

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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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