Skype: Microsoft can have it.

I love the concept of Skype. Audio/Video communications for nothing. What’s not to love? Dial up your friends and family in far off places and not pay a cent in long distance. That’s awesome. Most visions are. This is one, however, that the owners who recently just padded their investment accounts with Microsoft stock knew full well they needed to escape from. Skype is a polished terd and a complete failure of a product to me. Perhaps only me.

I LOATHE the implementation. It’s the most unreliable, unprofessional and completely worthless piece of junk I’ve ever had the displeasure to work with. Clearly, those who worked on making Skype a successful product had some really terrible challenges. It’s clear that they battled long and hard to make the product work. In the wake of the battle lies a product so terribly broken, I don’t know if even Microsoft can fix it.

For the longest time, we’ve been trying to get Logitech/Lifesize to integrate with Skype into their Lifesize HD video conferencing products. Finally, they did. We’ve come to find out though that they’ve had to do so using a very new, buggy, black-box development kit that brings the instability of the Skype software for the PC to our otherwise stable and reliable set-top video conferencing systems. First, it didn’t like the ‘long’ (17 characters) username. But do you think it would tell us “sorry, that username is too long!”. Nope, instead the error was “Invalid Password.” Invalid Password? Would it be okay the next time your car ran out of gas for the dashboard computer to indicate “Turn Signal Burnt Out” as the reason why your car won’t start?

Don’t get me started on the iPhone app. Ever try to video conference with the iPhone using Skype? The app crashes a lot – even on the latest, greatest iPhone 4. A little research turns up a lot of people experiencing this. Here’s a hint, Skype: Don’t release shitty software until you’ve at least tested it to work with the biggest damn user group possible in a market segment. iPhone dominates the mobile market. Get it right or go home.

I know it’s free. That’s not the point. I would be willing to pay for the damn service if it was reliable. But it’s not.

How I wish there were alternatives that just worked. How I would love to use iChat from my PC, iPhone, Android, Lifesize or just about any other device. Will there ever be a day when all the video conferencing capabilities will simply just work and talk to each other the way the telephone did for so many decades? The way things are going now, I have my doubts.

So, Microsoft, you can have Skype. Shut it down or fix it. Make it a product that I can finally rely on.







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