My Thoughts on Technology and Jamaica: Skype's Ads on Free VoIP heralds coming of Free Mobile VoIP - Video Calls not problem as LIME LTE soon tun up

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Skype's Ads on Free VoIP heralds coming of Free Mobile VoIP - Video Calls not problem as LIME LTE soon tun up

Skype has announced on Wednesday June 13th 2012AD plans to make money by serving up free demographic-driven ads for Skype software for users of its Free VoIP Video Calling Service in fifty five (55) of its markets. This as reported on Skype’s Official Blog as well as in the article “Skype to serve display ads to Windows users”, published June 13 2012 10:58am PDT by Donna Tam, CNET News.

For those who came late, Microsoft had purchased Skype in May of 2011AD, almost a year ago, heralding Microsoft’s possible push into the VoIP Telecoms Sector as surmised in my blog article entitled “Microsoft acquires Skype for US$8.5 billion - Miley Cyrus's Fly on the Wall Drops it Like it’s Hot”.

A month later in June 2011AD Facebook announced a very deep integration of Skype into its services, in effect becoming a portal for Video Calling as concluded by my blog article entitled “FaceBook deeply integrates Skype - Microsoft, the Ladykiller of Landline”.

Folks a whole year has now passed. Since then, no progress reports has been heard from Microsoft or Facebook on the usage statistics for their Video VoIP Calling Service or any other deep integration of Skype into any of Microsoft’s products.

No improvements to make the software more lightweight or even Mobile to match competitors such as Fring or even Google Voice, which Google introduced a year prior in August 2010AD as I had discovered in my blog article entitled “Google and Google Voice - The World is Not Enough, making this the first action by Microsoft since their purchase of Skype in a year.

Those of us who use Google Voice will remember Apple tussle with Google over the App, whose function bypassed International Calling Gateways for AT&T via routing of calls over Landline and then to VoIP. AT&T pressured Apple to get rid of the product, but without indicating why.

But eventually Apple was forced to keep it as stated in the article “After tussle, Google Voice application comes to iPhone”, published Tuesday November 16 2010 by AFP, Yahoo News and the article “Apple relents and approves Google Voice app for iPhone”, published Wednesday November 17 2010 by NewsFactor, Yahoo News.

Fast forward to the here and now, gentle people! Facebook’s lackluster performance of their IPO (Initial Public Offer) as stated in the article “Where are FaceBook's friends? Stock slide deepens”, published Wednesday, May 23, 2012, The Jamaica Observer and “FaceBook falls below US$30”, published Wednesday, May 30, 2012, The Jamaica Observerleft many realizing the obvious.

Facebook stumbles were due to the lack of a clear Mobile strategy and business model, as they manly made money from being the third most visited website online as opined earlier in my blog article entitled “FaceBook extinct as Chrome to be No. 1 Browser in 2012AD – FB rides Bed Knobs and Broomsticks Mobile Revolution against Google+”.

They have the same exact problem like Mozilla Foundation prime product, Mozilla Firefox as stated in my Geezam Blog article entitled “Chrome 16 beats Firefox and IE8 –Mozilla going Mobile and Cloud OS on Smartphones, Tablets and UltraBoooks”.

The Mozilla Foundation has renewed their Search Engine Royalty Agreement with Google for the next three (3) years, US$900 million deal announced on 20th December 2011AD as stated in “Firefox saved as Google renews default search engine deal”, published December 20, 2011By Jeff Hughes, DigitalTrends and  “More details on the Google/Firefox deal emerge, big numbers involved”, published December 23, 2011ByAndy Boxall, DigitalTrends.

Since then Apple latest release of iOS 6.0 on Monday June 11th 2012AD at WWDC (World Wide Developer Conference) has integrated Facebook into the upcoming Apple iPhones as well as Apple iPad as described in my blog article entitledApple deeply integrating Facebook into iOS 6.0 - The Penguins of Madagascar Microsoft and Apple save the Devil in the Blue Dress”. This is much in the same way Apple had integrated Twitter when they had launched iOS 5.0 as stated in the article Apple’s iOS 6 Includes Deep FaceBook Integration”, published June 11, 2012 by Sarah Kessler, Mashable.

Not quite a business plan, but it’s a start towards a Mobile Strategy. With word still, however, humming in the blogsphere of a future smartphone powered by software from Facebook, this recent integration also begs the question of what will become of Skype.

This action of deeply integrating Facebook can effectively can be seen as “frenemies” Apple and Microsoft teaming up against Google, as Apple symbolically dumped Google Maps in favour of their own Maps technology as default GPS Mapping support as stated in the article  “Apple kicks Google Maps off iPhone, adds FaceBook”, published Wednesday, June 13, 2012, The Jamaica Observer.

I am not sure if Skype will be allowed to work on the Mobile version of Facebook now integrated into Apple’s iOS 6.0. But it might be the case, as based on Apple’s utterance at WWDC, FaceTime will be allowed to finally work over Mobile Networks instead of just Wi-Fi.

This means a renaissance for Video Calling and thus an opportunity for Skype, as it would be unfair for Carriers such as AT&T, Sprint and Verizon, now bristling with LTE upgrades, to give FaceTime airtime preference on their Mobile Network without allowing other Video Calling Platforms to co-exist.

Thus what will happen becomes clear. Monetizing Skype via contextual ads is only the start. Through skillfully negotiations using this argument, Microsoft may argue that Skype should be allowed the same privileges as Apple’s FaceTime.

Then Facebook and Microsoft can roll out a tiered service with four (4) separate markets, based on the demographics of their fifty five (55) markets:

1.      Free VoIP to Terrestrial Mobile and Landline Networks Worldwide Subsidized by advertising
2.      Subscription VoIP to Terrestrial Mobile and Landline Networks Worldwide paid for by subscribers
3.      Free Video VoIP Calling to Terrestrial Mobile and Landline Networks Worldwide capable of receiving Video Calls Subsidized by advertising
4.      Subscription Video VoIP Calling to Terrestrial Mobile and Landline Networks Worldwide capable of receiving Video Calls paid for by subscribers

Further negotiations with FaceTime could see the development of Cross Network Video VoIP Calling Standards and Tariffs to allow customer on either service to call each other. In essence, Facebook, Microsoft and Apple could become MVNO (Mobile Virtual Network Operators) for Video VoIP Calling powered by Telecom Providers LTE Networks.

Contextual advertising and tiered services presents a business model that would:

1.      Monetize Free VoIP and thus spark a revolution by introducing Free Video and VoIP Calling to Terrestrial Mobile and Landline Networks Worldwide
2.      Kick-start the mass adoption of Video VoIP Calling
3.      Get more Silicon Valley Companies into the lucrative MVNO Network, now ramping up in the US and Globally
4.      Solve Facebook’s problems in terms of Growth, as such a VoIP Network could be used to power their smartphone that they are still working on

Already Jamaica is following on the trend towards adopting smartphones as noted in my blog article entitled “Blackberry popularity wanes as Jamaicans go smartphones - Android and Apple's Smartphone Revolution”.

Jamaica’s local Telecom Provider’s LIME and Digicel will hopefully stick to their schedule of upgrading their Caribbean Wide networks to HSDPA+ (High Speed Downlink Packet Access) Release 7 by December 2012AD and then eventually LTE (Long Term Evolution) by 2013AD as stated in my blog article entitled “LIME's US$80 million Caribbean HSDPA+ Release 7 Upgrade - Sonic the Hedgehog” and  “Digicel's US$85 million HSDPA+ and WiMax 4G Upgrade - Wizards of Waverly Place Fast Five Showdown”.

Low cost Cross-Network and International Voice Calling over the traditional Switched Voice Services powered by GSM is now a reality. This thanks to the OUR (Office of the Utilities Regulation) as stated in my blog article entitled LIME's new TALK EZ Plan drops Cross Network Calling to JA$2.99 - Digicel's Game of Thrones vs LIME Return of the King” and the Geezam blog article entitled “LIME drops Cross Network Calling rate to JA$6.99 to kick off a 3 year Battle for Mobile Market Dominance”.

Jamaicans will be making calling like crazy, with low-cost Dual SIM smartphones such as those made by Florida-based Plum as stated in the article “Who the heck is Plum Anyway?”, published May 11 2012 6:27 PDT, by Lynn La, CNET News being the next trend among Prepaid users.

This as MNP (Mobile Number Portability) is coming in December 2012AD and may be on offer for Postpaid customers only as suggested by the article “Paulwell promises number portability by December”, published Sunday, June 17, 2012 BY CONRAD HAMILTON Senior staff reporter, The Jamaica Observer. Prepaid customer reluctant to switch may thus go the dual-SIM route, a trend worthy of its own article quite soon

With LTE hopefully in place by the Second Quarter of 2013AD Video VoIP Calling is not a problem as the LTE tun’ up for both the USA and Jamaica via either Microsoft owned Facebook integrated Skype or Apple FaceTime.

By then the trend of Video VoIP Calling might begin to pick in Jamaica by 2014AD, just in time for World Cup 2014AD.


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