Monday, November 13, 2006

TalkPlus - Friend or Foe for Skype?

Very interesting post today from colleague Phil Wolff at Skype Journal.

If you're a fan of either TalkPlus or Skype, you'll want to read this, and more importantly check out the video clip. Phil has posted a raw clip of TalkPlus CEO Jeff Black doing a live demo of him calling into Skype's echo123 number on the fly using TalkPlus.

The details are better left to Skype-o-philes like Phil to explain, but basically, Jeff demonstrates how TalkPlus subscribers can access Skype and make SkypeOut calls from their mobile phone. Remember, you don't dial phone numbers to call other Skype users. With TalkPlus, Jeff shows how a 10 digit phone number is generated on the fly, allowing you to make this call on your cell phone.

Jeff has talked about how TalkPlus has reverse engineered Skype, and if this allows TalkPlus subscribers to access the Skype network directly, without going through as a Skype subscriber, then you really don't need a SkypeIn number. You just use your existing number and interface with Skype via TalkPlus.

Am still getting my head around this a bit, but if it all holds water - and if it scales - this could put a crimp in Skype's revenue model. I don't that's what Jeff has in mind, unless there's another form of reverse engineering going on - such as becoming an acquisition target for Skype/eBay. Or how about the other big fish, like Google, Yahoo, etc.? Lots of scenarios to speculate about there.

So, kudos to Phil Wolff for this great post, but now for the hard question. Phil - you taped this clip 2 weeks ago, and TalkPlus is just getting their story ramped up this week. Why post today and not 2 weeks ago, unless you were under embargo? It's not clear to me from your post - under the Skype Journal mantle -if this is welcome news or not. Your post is totally objective - 100% neutral, and I just can't tell. What's your take? I'd say it's the former...

Quick hat tip to Alec Saunders, who posted on this earlier today.

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1 comment:

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