There’s a lot of talk around the blogosphere about Skype going SIP, especially in light of all their Joltid problems. People who are avid SIP advocates in our VoIP industry see this as a sign that Skype should (and will) migrate their service to SIP soon. I don’t see it coming.
Any reason for Skype to adopt SIP?
Andy Abramson wrote, a month ago, that he likes Google Talk’s concept of a browser-based video client, but he believes Skype is winning the game due to their size:
Personally, I like the idea of a browser based video client, but right now, Skype is winning the battle on the desktop for video because of one thing. The size of their user base. To firmly win that battle all Skype has to do is become SIP based and then everything works and talks to it. When that day comes, and I predict it will, it will be a big day forward for IP based Communications and Video calling will become as common as voice calls are today.
As much as I like Andy Abramson, there are two things here that don’t make sense to me:
1. Google Talk isn’t Browser Based
Well, it is, but its video solution isn’t “pure” browser- it requires downloading a plugin/extension/add-on/application/call-it-what-you-like. It makes the decision-making process of the user debating on whether to use the service almost as complicated as any other desktop client application.
Today’s browsers don’t allow for real-time video communication that is adequate for video conferencing – it’s a latency issue.
2. Skype in SIP is a Suicide for Skype
Skype moving to SIP the whole way makes their service interchangeable with any other VoIP provider out there – no “special” glue to stick their customers to the service.
What Skype are doing instead is building bridges in the form of Skype for SIP, where they control their own network and the connectivity to it.
What Does This Say About Video?
Skype are best positioned to increase the video calling market. They have the user base and the application in place. They are moving the focus to video with their latest version.
What they are missing is a hardware-based solution that can fill in the missing gap that they have on their way to an enterprise video solution. I’d say that they are still far away from this specific task, but the work they are doing in bringing video to the masses is important.