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Doug Nebeker ("Doug")
I've been using Skype for a long time and have couple add-ons ideas that I would use. But the questions is - is there market for Skype add-ons?
I'm just asking because it's interesting to listen to the opinions of people who develop or not for this market.
Thanks in advance.
A lot of businesses use Skype for coordinating distributed teams.
(Is it wise or not in the light of recent and not so recent discoveries of Skype sending links to MS servers for AV-tests -- is a different question).
I would be inclined to think that not all of those businesses find all their needs covered by Skype.
I would also believe MS wouldn't do niche development. They will cover 99% of mainstream use, and stop there.
People make and sell plugins for Excel, so why not for Skype?
Do you have a specific idea, or you just like Skype?
Wednesday, May 22, 2013
You make the great point about using Skype for coordinating distributed teams. From my previous experience, I always used Skype to communicate with distributed teams.
> Do you have a specific idea, or you just like Skype?
Yes, I have specific ideas. The first one is the integration with one of those social networks and the other one is the plugin for IT staff get their jobs done more easily. But the one thing is bother me is that Skype shuts down Extras. It was long time ago and public API is still available.
"People make and sell plugins for Excel, so why not for Skype?"
For the same reason Google shut down API's to access its free services. Neither Google or Microsoft will invest in supporting publicly exposed API's because that takes away from the real purpose of offering free services, which is to keep computer users away from competing services. If they make it too easy to build plugins, independent providers of associated services get the commercial business without having to develop and support the free service. The business model for the free services revolves around keeping the user dependent on the service provider.
You could do all the preliminary work of defining a market and developing a service for that market using the free Skype service, and then sell your work to Microsoft. Just remember Microsoft employs more programmers than you do, and they all need projects to work on. Someone who works for Microsoft has probably pitched ideas very similar to yours already, and been shot down by the same management who would be involved in purchasing a service developed outside Microsoft.
"integration with one of those social networks"
What happens when there are more ways to integrate with social networks than there are social network users? If you have something that lots of people actually get excited about, sell your service to a social network. They need all the help they can get to increase the size of their network and have the cash to pay for it.
> Neither Google or Microsoft will invest in supporting publicly exposed API's because that takes away from the real purpose of offering free services, which is to keep computer users away from competing services.
Sorry, how a plugin that increases the usefulness (and thus use) of a service would be misaligned with a goal of keeping users away from competing services? o_O
Google shuts down its services where Google has to do all the expense but earn no money. Yes, Reader. But Skype is a paid service.
Friday, May 24, 2013
The charges for Skype only cover payments to telecommunication service providers. Computer to computer is free, group video chat requires a premium account, but unless everyone in the group has exceptional bandwidth, it's not a good experience (to put it mildly). In that case, the largest expense is getting the bandwidth, and presumably the ISPs are making money. No matter how you look at it, Microsoft (and anyone who owned Skype before them) isn't making adequate money just from subscriber fees.
"a goal of keeping users away from competing services?"
I'm not convinced it's a good business strategy, but Google has tried to get into the telecommunication market, and Skype was a strategic acquisition to take away any opportunity for Google to become dominant. Both Google and Microsoft have more cash than they can profitably invest internally, so business decisions are sometimes made for strategic purposes instead of obtaining a better rate of return.
Interesting points, Howard.
If MS bought Skype to block Google, wouldn't the keep it running forever or at least while Google Hangout is up? If so, a plugin may be a viable option for a while.
Also, if ISP make money from Skype, why a small plugin maker cannot do the same?
It is kinda risky to put all eggs onto Skype, of course... but a useful plugin that only takes 3 months to build has a chance, I believe.
Saturday, May 25, 2013
"why a small plugin maker cannot do the same?"
Because Microsoft won't support a publicly accessible API. It doesn't matter if it is good business or not, it is what it is.
This is a bit off topic, but my advice to ISV's is simple. There will always be a Win32 compatible API and there will always be a free *nix GUI-free OS. Microsoft makes too much money from selling operating systems and office software that runs on those OSes to discard Windows and *nix is too valuable to the IT industry that isn't part of Microsoft to quit paying people to develop hardware libraries for servers (and it's too expensive to develop and maintain proprietary OSes). If you develop software for anything other than those two environments (and I'm talking especially about mobile platforms and browser applications) you have a very short window to make money. Or you can work for Apple or Google or consult. Seriously.
Let me clarify "you can work for Apple or Google", there will be always be programming jobs with hardware vendors other than Apple or service providers other than Google. Long term however, either you work for someone else or you develop Windows desktop apps, or you sell a service to others. Even in the *nix environment, you will depend on another company for your income. Which is okay, the odds of a new independent making it on his/her own selling software are pretty slim anyway.
> Because Microsoft won't support a publicly accessible API.
That would be most unfortunate.
I wonder if MS expressed any plans for this publicly.
With the new "open" MS it may worth to ask a Skype project manager on their blog. (I don't know who's the guy, but I'm sure there is yon Skype blog).
Sunday, May 26, 2013
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