Shape of Intent :

Quiet Release of SkypeKit SDK, New Ideas at Skype?

After languishing under the marginal management of Meg Whitman at eBay, Skype has been returned to the original founders and they seem to have some fresh ideas about what to do with the technology.

With barely a whisper Skype released SkypeKit SDK in June. Their hope will be that 3rd party hardware developers will license the technology platform and build devices utilizing the communication software. The other hope is that software developers would ebed the technology in their applications.

There are real possibilities in this prospect but there are also hazards. It is a e wonderful thing to build on an existing platform of services: you do not need to execute a lot of expensive engineering and development time, so quick to market and save a lot of coin.

On the other hand, the downside, invest a lot of time and money and have a hit and you have limited control over your destiny. The platform provider could change their mind and drop the ability or constrict it to your peril. Or you could swing and knock it out of the park and the platform provider decides to come into your backyard, steal your dog, knock over your barbecue and have more than a passing interest in your wife.

It will depend on how parallel and non intersecting the motivations and incentives of Skype and the 3rd party developers. Since Skype makes its money on telecom services on its network, it serves them well to let others spread that magical ability and they reap the expanded benefit of more traffic and thus fees through their system.

It is unclear how much they will expect. Currently they are blocking pornography and gambling, understandable, unless you enjoy those services, but thorny legal territory in a cross border, multi-country service. One sovereign’s pleasure is another’s threat to all that is good and just. But what if they decide other things are not so acceptable? What if China wants to listen in? Or the US takes its terror obsession to new levels? They tap on Skype’s shoulder and say, “No, no, no,” will Skype listen?

The more likely scenario, is Skype feeling threatened by a very clever developer that devises an application or device that was unforeseen and tilts at Skype’s strategic intentions and they pull the plug, a right they have reserved.

There are also certification fees for commercial products, but what is the price? Are they going to cover the cost of the relationship, SDK support, etc? Or are they going to bite into the bottom line?

Skype also plans on offering the Skype Shop, – an Apple App Store homage. A place for 3rd party developers to show off and sell their wares and services.

Right now SkypeKit is in a closed Beta and available only to the Linux development community but they promise to have others available in a month. Skype has always been good at cross platform parity so this will be a promise met.

SkypeKit bears watching, it should be a very interesting adventure.

SkypeKit Beta Developer

  • email
  • Twitter
  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn
  • Digg
  • StumbleUpon
  • FriendFeed
  • Reddit
  • Technorati
  • HackerNews
  • NewsVine
  • Google Buzz
  • viadeo FR
  • NuJIJ
  • LaTafanera
  • Wikio IT

, , , , , ,