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The Skype Effect

February 10, 2005

Over at Always-On, Michael Stroud, CEO of iHollywood Forum, which produces conferences and seminars about digital entertainment and mobile technology, takes an interesting look at the impact of the Skype phenomenon. 67 million people have downloaded Skype, which causes Stroud to muse: “How long until one billion people realize that they can make unlimited free calls to their friends? How long until everybody does?”
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Message to the RBOCs: Bring it, bee-otches!
The logical conclusion of Skype’s influence is free voice calling, anytime, anywhere. As a result, the existing telcos, which have for years talked about offering services other than voice over their infrastructure will finally be forced into action.
That the RBOCs are being forced into action is self-evident (see the somewhat pathetic AT&T/SBC merger as irrefutable proof). But if we ran a hedge fund (doesn’t everybody these days?), we’d keep our short positions in place for a while on all RBOC stocks. It will probably get worse before it gets better. As we noted in a post about the MSFT/SBC deal to develop TV services using IP infrastructure: The point is that attempts at “convergence” always take much longer than anticipated – if they happen at all. Perhaps the most realistic aspect of this SBC/MSFT announcement is the timeframe – 10 years. Maybe we’ll revisit this in 5 years, but for now we’re much more interested in the start-ups that are giving SBC a run for its money.
Read: The Skype-TV Connection: VoIP is forcing telcos to go Hollywood – [Always-On]
Read: The Convergence Myth – [a:c]
Read: Skype – Profile – [a:c]

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