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282 comments

Wait a minute... (5, Insightful)

ustolemyname (1301665) | more than 4 years ago | (#28893561)

eBay paid $2.6 Billion [bbc.co.uk] for a dinky little 8MB program, and don't even bother to make sure they got everything?

Wow.

Re:Wait a minute... (5, Insightful)

Shaiku (1045292) | more than 4 years ago | (#28893585)

I've been wondering for a long time why eBay even bought skype. There is no relationship whatsoever and it doesn't come as a surprise to me that they're recently looking to dump it. They paid an outrageous sum, didn't get full rights, and failed to leverage that technology in any way useful to the company. Bizarre move..

Re:Wait a minute... (4, Insightful)

sopssa (1498795) | more than 4 years ago | (#28893653)

Because large companies usually try to expand to new areas too. For example see Virgin Group [wikipedia.org] and even Microsoft, who are doing hardware (and xbox) even if their core business is in Operating Systems.

You dont always need a direct connection between a parent company and the one bought - They can continue to operate like they have, which is even more true when you're buying an existing company.

Re:Wait a minute... (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28893779)

Microsoft, who are doing hardware (and xbox) even if their core business is in Operating Systems.

I thought Microsoft was trying to get out of the Operating System business because they couldn't compete with Windows XP.

Re:Wait a minute... (4, Insightful)

iYk6 (1425255) | more than 4 years ago | (#28893839)

There is no reason that a parent company and a bought company have be in related fields. However, it is common that they are. For example, eBay's auction and payment companies. Microsoft's OS and game consoles. Nintendo's game consoles and toys.

The primary reason is that the parent companies assets, including human, are more aligned to fill the needs of the smaller company. eBay and Paypal was a perfect merge for Paypal, and now they effectively get twice the money per auction after forcing their eBay users to offer Paypal. When Microsoft started making Xboxes, they already had most of the operating system, which is a non-negligible part of a console, and more MS employees would be able to take apart and build a computer than say, the employees of a bank. Nintendo has a name which helps them sell toys.

Sometimes, the smaller company can fill a need of a larger company. Perhaps an airline company will buy a computer retailer right before a major IT upgrade, and they will effectively have a discount.

eBay and Skype fulfill none of the examples above and was truly a bizarre move.

Re:Wait a minute... (3, Interesting)

Ilgaz (86384) | more than 4 years ago | (#28894231)

eBay buying Skype doesn't make sense. Compare it to Nokia buying Trolltech, maps companies, opening up Symbian with their own money and even starting to enhance their love-hate J2ME virtual machine.

All makes sense if you think about them, in long term strategy and expanding to new markets and I speak about billions here. Billions spent to make things free and even allowing el cheapo Chinese manufacturers have a real OS on their cell phones and I can easily figure why. On eBay case, I can't.

If Amazon purchased Skype, it would make absolute sense but not eBay. Amazon had their "expand to new horizons" since the beginning, remember how people laughed at them when they enabled competitors to advertise on their own pages? That was ages ago. Remember S3 first launch?

Re:Wait a minute... (1)

sopssa (1498795) | more than 4 years ago | (#28894305)

If Amazon purchased Skype, it would make absolute sense but not eBay. Amazon had their "expand to new horizons" since the beginning, remember how people laughed at them when they enabled competitors to advertise on their own pages? That was ages ago. Remember S3 first launch?

Companies evolve too. Just because they dont have a history in "expanding to new horizons" doesn't mean they couldn't start doing it now. And it might even be good -- Its a more bad thing to rely entirely on one business.

Other than seeing Skype as a good business, I dont get why eBay would need an another reason to buy it. It doesn't need to expand eBay's core business. It doesn't need to make their core business easier. It just needs to provide income for the parent company. It also provides better stability if the core business model starts to go worse, for example with current recession people probably dont buy stuff that much hence impacting both eBay/PayPal income. However I dont think Skype is affected by that so much, people that use it will still use it and pay when they need to contact people.

Re:Wait a minute... (2, Interesting)

Dan541 (1032000) | more than 4 years ago | (#28893823)

They should open-source skype, then they will at least get lots of good publicity.

Re:Wait a minute... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28893951)

That would be very stupid. The proprietary encryption and it's out-of-the-box-feeling is one reason for the great success of skype. If they opensource their protocolls I'm sure they would crank attacks against the skype network to a maximum.

Re:Wait a minute... (4, Insightful)

Shikaku (1129753) | more than 4 years ago | (#28894055)

On each login session, Skype generates a session key from 192 random bits. The session key is encrypted with the hard-coded login server's 1536-bit RSA key to form an encrypted session key. Skype also generates a 1024-bit private/public RSA key pair. An MD5 hash of a concatenation of the user name, constant string ("\nSkyper\n") and password is used as a shared secret with the login server. The plain session key is hashed into a 256-bit AES key that is used to encrypt the session's public RSA key and the shared secret. The encrypted session key and the AES encrypted value are sent to the login server.

I would love if they broke all of those. Nevermind that the entire Skype protocol is decentralized already, which is a security risk already because you get random packets from random people using Skype.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Skype_protocol [wikipedia.org]

Dumb AC troll.

Re:Wait a minute... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28894233)

Yeah, you be sure to get back to our descendants in whatever century you do finally break those.

Re:Wait a minute... (3, Insightful)

sxpert (139117) | more than 4 years ago | (#28894085)

which turns out to be security by obscurity.
any security analyst can tell you how much this is bullshit ;)

Re:Wait a minute... (1)

turing_m (1030530) | more than 4 years ago | (#28893873)

A fly on the wall at those meetings would have heard at least one person discuss the obvious synergies being leveraged.

Did you ever get a call regarding your auction? (1)

Ilgaz (86384) | more than 4 years ago | (#28894133)

I heard from "This Week in Tech" podcast that eBay was dreaming the ebay sellers will put "skype me" to their product pages and let the customers (buyers) call them.

One thing of course, people hates to be called via voice regarding a sell. So, it blew.

Re:Wait a minute... (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28893589)

They got $2.6 Billion for a dinky little 8MB program, and still aren't happy?

Re:Wait a minute... (4, Funny)

sopssa (1498795) | more than 4 years ago | (#28893697)

Well, if you're spending $1 million a day, that $2.6 Billion is only going to last 2600 days which is only about seven years.* You need to make sure your elder years will be good aswell.

(* This calculation doesn't take into account one time purchases like houses, cars, airplanes, some nice island near hawaii)

Re:Wait a minute... (3, Insightful)

linhares (1241614) | more than 4 years ago | (#28893995)

these dudes are claiming the title of world's greatest software assholes right from the hands of Gates, Ballmer & Co.

Re:Wait a minute... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28894049)

Supposedly at least one of them has been wasting a whole lot of money on some really stupid shit, including a lot of stocks in a lot of the wrong companies.

Re:Wait a minute... (4, Interesting)

broken_chaos (1188549) | more than 4 years ago | (#28893609)

They obviously did not think that one through very well. The article reads like they bought everything except the protocol, audio codec, or encryption algorithm (one or more of the three - the article isn't detailed enough to say which) - something which stops any replacement they create from being backwards compatible with any other versions of Skype. From that alone, it gives me the impression this is a patent issue, not a copyright issue. Perhaps we can "con" a large company into not supporting software patents out of this mess? ;-)

I also wonder what the potential liability here is, given that portions of Skype are a paid service.

Re:Wait a minute... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28893663)

You can't legally sell a business and then compete against it or undermine that business. Skype will continue to be able to use the technology.

Re:Wait a minute... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28893725)

You can't legally sell a business and then compete against it or undermine that business.

Says who?

Re:Wait a minute... (2, Interesting)

Hammer (14284) | more than 4 years ago | (#28893795)

If you have a legal team making a good enough contract and the buyers legal team is not good enough to catch it. There should be no problem at all.... There is absolutely nothing to stop you from selling your business with a clause like "You pay me a shitload of money but I keep all the business rights" if the buyer is ignorant to sign that deal.

All I can say to eBay is.... Next time get a better legal team :-) This time... just suck it up

Mind you this hammers in all the pro's of IP-laws and software patents and all the terrible thing associated with open source :-D

Re:Wait a minute... (4, Informative)

k33l0r (808028) | more than 4 years ago | (#28893855)

Looking at the Skype founders' company website [joltid.com], they license three different products/technologies: PeerEnabler, PeerCache, and Global Index.

In their words:

  • PeerEnabler is "a virtual Content Distribution Network"
  • PeerCache is "a cache product that enabled network operators to optimize peer-to-peer traffic"
  • Global Index is their flagship product and "is the world's most technologically advanced, scalable and field-tested peer-to-peer technology. Global Index creates a self-organizing and self-healing distributed storage, transport and data object management system that does away with the costs of traditional datacenter solutions and enables a range of applications from communications to broadcasting and beyond."

They also explicitly state that Global Index is used in Skype.

Re:Wait a minute... (1)

broken_chaos (1188549) | more than 4 years ago | (#28893949)

Ahh, so it's a piece of the protocol then. Thanks, I didn't think to check if they were licensing it out to other companies.

Looks like that link's getting /.ed pretty hard right now, but I'll make a wild guess that I was right on this being a patent dispute and not some sort of copyright dispute.

Re:Wait a minute... (1)

moon3 (1530265) | more than 4 years ago | (#28893859)

Big "HAHA" tag missing. Exactly. I mean this is rip-off of the century.

eBay got DRM'd (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28894077)

eBay got DRM'd

http://slashdot.org/story/09/07/30/1736209/RIAA-Says-Dont-Expect-DRMed-Music-To-Work-Forever

Re:Wait a minute... (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28893877)

Maybe they should leave negative feedback?
"Goods not as advertised, would not buy again"

Re:Wait a minute... (1)

DriftingDutchman (703460) | more than 4 years ago | (#28894069)

Not getting all the rights is stupid indeed, but the size and quality of the program is seen as less relevant than market share and associated current and projected future earnings.

Re:Wait a minute... (2, Insightful)

FudRucker (866063) | more than 4 years ago | (#28894311)

2.6 billion and did not get full ownership? wow what dumbasses runs eBay!!! i have an old stone bridge in NYC i can sell them too

Ekiga (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28893563)

cough cough Ekiga !!!!!!! cough

Re:Ekiga (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28893713)

Ekiga sucks dick, and it sounds like you're chocking on one.

Re:Ekiga (5, Interesting)

noundi (1044080) | more than 4 years ago | (#28893849)

Up until 3.0 Ekiga did suck dick, I agree. And prior to Ekiga the previous GnomeMeeting worked fine. Ekiga has only been sucking between 2.0 up until 3.0. If you haven't tried it lately I recommend the later versions. Good news is that it's a thriving project with constant updates, just look at the changelogs [ekiga.org] for the 3.2.X series alone. Whatever it is it's completely free and while it has sucked dick at certain times at least it will never let its users to get it up the ass. [slashdot.org]

Ekiga + Zfone = Free encrypted VoIP? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28894321)

Has anyone successfully used Phil Zimmerman's Zfone [zfoneproject.com] with Ekiga? If the encryption works for voice and chat it could be a great free open-source alternative to Skype.

Just replace the code (1)

cullenfluffyjennings (138377) | more than 4 years ago | (#28893591)

It seems to me that it would not be that hard to just replace the code that is a problem

Re:Just replace the code (1)

TheP4st (1164315) | more than 4 years ago | (#28893911)

Which of course is why they are going pay an army of lawyers a dump truck of money to maybe solve a problem that a couple of programmers could do at a presumably significantly lower cost.

Re:Just replace the code (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28893931)

Skype goes SIP?

Ebay licences a personalised copy of Counterpath X-Lite or SJPhone?

Ebay sells their rights to Skype - on ebay?

Lawyers make a fortune sorting out this mess?

Old bait-and-switch (4, Insightful)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 4 years ago | (#28893597)

1. Provide a good service, a tool, a format.
2. Make it cheap.
3. Wait 'til everyone uses it because it was cheap.
4. Jack up the price.
5. Profit.

Worse than bait-and-switch (2, Interesting)

bledri (1283728) | more than 4 years ago | (#28893763)

1. Provide a good service, a tool, a format.
2. Make it cheap.
3. Wait 'til everyone uses it because it was cheap.
4. Jack up the price.
5. Profit.

eBay paid $2.6B for Skype, so I think the handful of people that created it made a (ridiculous) profit. eBay bought Skype and let the founders keep the rights to part of the software which is amazingly stupid IMHO. TFA doesn't even say why Niklas Zennstrom and Janus Friis revoked the license, but after getting $2.6B they better have a damn good reason. This blog seems to imply the founders want to buy Skype back. [1]

[1] Preview didn't show the line, so just in case:
http://www.readwriteweb.com/archives/skype_as_we_know_it_may_not_exist_much_longer_ebay.php [readwriteweb.com]

Re:Worse than bait-and-switch (1)

linhares (1241614) | more than 4 years ago | (#28893981)

I think it goes more like this:

1. Provide a good service, a tool, a format.

2. Make it cheap.

3. Wait 'til everyone uses it because it was cheap.

4. MAKE MORE MONEY by destroying value [halfsigma.com]

5. Jack up the price.

6. Profit.

This story to me is so similar to the IBM one. Skype seems to be the reason the iPhone is not in China yet, and that it will have no wifi. Telecoms despise skype. Why do I suddenly visualize this meeting of world telecom hotshots in Davos arranging to get 1B/year to shut down skype???

Not that it will work on the long run, of course. Google/Ekiga/even MS and Apple and Facebook are probably interested in this space.

Re:Old bait-and-switch (1)

MemoryDragon (544441) | more than 4 years ago | (#28893785)

Does not work in case of skype you always can use google voice talk (which works better btw. skype is inferior) or directly SIP!

Re:Old bait-and-switch (4, Interesting)

gilgongo (57446) | more than 4 years ago | (#28893983)

Does not work in case of skype you always can use google voice talk (which works better btw. skype is inferior) or directly SIP!

One of Skype's big advantages is conference calling (and now, desktop sharing as well). I don't think either Google Talk nor any SIP providers I know do that. Ekiga would seem to be the nearest open alternative to Skype. Odd how the "downloads" page on ekiga.org makes no mention of their Windows version, which according to their wiki (where a Win32 download link appears), appears to be released almost in parallel to the Linux versions. Oh well, I'll mail them about that.

Re:Old bait-and-switch (4, Informative)

Tony Hoyle (11698) | more than 4 years ago | (#28894047)

Conferencing works on every serious SIP system, and has done since long before skype was even popular (and definately long before it supported any such features).

Re:Old bait-and-switch (1)

asdf7890 (1518587) | more than 4 years ago | (#28893917)

1. Provide a good service, a tool, a format. 2. Make it cheap. 3. Wait 'til everyone uses it because it was cheap. 4. Jack up the price. 5. Profit.

1. Provide a good service, a tool, a format.
2. Make it cheap.
3. Wait 'til everyone uses it because it was cheap.
4. Sell for an overly inflated price to a big company by convincing them that it might be the next big thing (look at all those users you could exploit!) and that if they don't buy one of their competitors will.
5. Profit.
6. Sit back and watch the company that bought the thing struggle to make a return on the investment while you relax and enjoy the benefits of being on the receiving end of that investment.

Nice work if you can get it!

Something is missing here (4, Interesting)

dynamo (6127) | more than 4 years ago | (#28893625)

Why would the founders of Skype be threatening to revoke the licensing agreement? What is their side?

And why would eBay pay billions of dollars for something without some guarantee that they'd be able to run it for a while?

This is like a super-sized version the story about the music industry claiming that it's ridiculous that people would think they could forever listen to their DRM music.

On an individual level, people allow themselves to be screwed for a few dollars at a time, just to be able to listen to the music but - paying more than 2 billion for most of something without a contract ensuring that it's not a total waste of money? Wow.

Re:Something is missing here (5, Insightful)

qbast (1265706) | more than 4 years ago | (#28893701)

Why would the founders of Skype be threatening to revoke the licensing agreement? What is their side?

Isn't it obvious? "Gimme more money!"

And why would eBay pay billions of dollars for something without some guarantee that they'd be able to run it for a while?

Their lawyers allowed themselves to get suckered? There is lesson to all those FUDing about how using open sourced pieces of software makes company vulnerable to legal problems. Guess what? With closed source the problem is the same, only worse - you don't have several widely used and well understood licenses - every company creates its own and every time you sign one you risk your legal team missing some well-hidden minefield.

This is like a super-sized version the story about the music industry claiming that it's ridiculous that people would think they could forever listen to their DRM music.

On an individual level, people allow themselves to be screwed for a few dollars at a time, just to be able to listen to the music but - paying more than 2 billion for most of something without a contract ensuring that it's not a total waste of money? Wow.

Wow indeed.

Re:Something is missing here (1)

Yvanhoe (564877) | more than 4 years ago | (#28894223)

Well, if I were there, I would try to get everything I could, to totally steal money from eBay, give half of what I won to EFF and say "see ? with open standard, and without stupid software patents, this would not have happened".

Or I could make a discount with the insurance that Skype will become and stay GPLed.

But more probably they are just fighting to get some money, cashing out legally on human stupidity.

Ideal time to make it use open standards (3, Insightful)

worip (1463581) | more than 4 years ago | (#28893657)

Then chuck out the propriety code and make it work with open standards. Or if that does not exist, create an open standard and do the first reference implementation. I'm assuming e-bay has the right to distribute the executable under the Skype name.

Re:Ideal time to make it use open standards (1)

TheP4st (1164315) | more than 4 years ago | (#28894035)

Then chuck out the propriety code and make it work with open standards..

Which may not be an option, the important parts of the code may be covered by a software patent with USPTO. Seing how this relates to RIAA's saying "Don't Expect DRMed Music To Work Forever" [slashdot.org] albeit on a much greater scale than your mp3 stopping working on day, and quite possibly software patents I can't say that I am not following this with a certain amount of confusing pleasure.

Re:Ideal time to make it use open standards (1)

worip (1463581) | more than 4 years ago | (#28894059)

Which may not be an option, the important parts of the code may be covered by a software patent with USPTO.

SIP is the obvious choice for this, which is an open standard. Integration with any type of telephony service should be much more straight forward.

Dupe? Oh, no, different company... (5, Funny)

argent (18001) | more than 4 years ago | (#28893737)

Didn't we just have this a few years ago... oh no, that was SCO forgetting to actually buy UNIX from Novell. I wonder how many other companies will turn out not to own the software they think they own?

Re:Dupe? Oh, no, different company... (2, Interesting)

siddesu (698447) | more than 4 years ago | (#28893863)

Your story is an exceptionally good analogy, except for the fact that SCO never developed Unix nor had any relationship with IBM, while the software that is the topic of the FTA was developed and sold to eBay by the very same people who are now revoking the license. And it seems eBay admits to those points in a SEC filing. BTW, this is the main point of the story.

On topic -- can eBay really be that stupid?

Re:Dupe? Oh, no, different company... (1)

argent (18001) | more than 4 years ago | (#28894037)

Your story is an exceptionally good analogy, except for the fact that SCO never developed Unix nor had any relationship with IBM

Where did I mention IBM? Oh, I didn't!

Re:Dupe? Oh, no, different company... (2, Insightful)

gilgongo (57446) | more than 4 years ago | (#28893999)

Didn't we just have this a few years ago... oh no, that was SCO forgetting to actually buy UNIX from Novell. I wonder how many other companies will turn out not to own the software they think they own?

Also, don't forget that RIM were nearly at the point of having to close down Blackberry wireless operations [cnet.com] in the US a couple of years go for very similar reasons.

Re:Dupe? Oh, no, different company... (1)

argent (18001) | more than 4 years ago | (#28894065)

Nah, that was a patent dispute. Those are a dime a dozen. You can't move without tripping over a submarine patent.

This isn't a company developing software on their own and then discovering some troll has patented something obvious they depend on. This is a company buying a complete product, and forgetting to actually make sure the product they thought they were buying was listed in the contract.

Re:Dupe? Oh, no, different company... (1)

linhares (1241614) | more than 4 years ago | (#28894159)

This isn't a company developing software on their own and then discovering some troll has patented something obvious they depend on. This is a company buying a complete product, and forgetting to actually make sure the product they thought they were buying was listed in the contract.

"MY FELLOW IBMERs, I present to you the IBM PC, a project executed on record time by relying on partners to develop the irrelevant parts of our product, like the keyboard; the operating system; and the CPU". [APPLAUSE]

No problem, there ar Open Source apps. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28893789)

If Skype will die, I will not cry. There are many open course apps using open standards, and example of such app is Ekiga. I see however a little problem - most of population does not know much about open source. Of course, many people know about Firefox, but the less tech savvy users are simply afraid of "messing" with "strange" software (i.e. not installed on their PC when they bought it. Some people simply trust more the software that costs something, even though they use a pirated version). Finally, Firefox has only 20% of the market share, os we can say that there is only 20% of users willing to adopt Open Source. That is not because they do not like Open Source, but they do not know it and therefore are afraid of it.

Re:No problem, there ar Open Source apps. (3, Interesting)

linhares (1241614) | more than 4 years ago | (#28893891)

not trolling here... can you make calls to landlines or cell phones from within Ekiga?

Re:No problem, there ar Open Source apps. (1)

gilgongo (57446) | more than 4 years ago | (#28894013)

not trolling here... can you make calls to landlines or cell phones from within Ekiga?

I'll just google that one for you:

https://answers.launchpad.net/ubuntu/+source/ekiga/+question/71276 [launchpad.net]

I think in the light of this Skype business, the Ekiga home page needs to raise its game considerably in terms of the information it provides. Looking at ekiga.org you can't immediately tell what it does, or even if there's a Windows version (which there is). I think it must get the prize for an Open Source project hiding the most light under a bushel.

Re:No problem, there ar Open Source apps. (1)

dkf (304284) | more than 4 years ago | (#28894163)

I think it must get the prize for an Open Source project hiding the most light under a bushel.

If so, it's winning that prize against stiff competition.

Ekiga for MacOS X? (0, Troll)

Lord Satri (609291) | more than 4 years ago | (#28894239)

You're right. The Ekiga website sucks. Tried looking for a MacOSX version of it, finally was able to find this page [ekiga.org]... however, the whole experience convinced me to try SkypeOut instead, even if proprietary. (we're dropping landlines at home for cellphones-only, and thus need cheap landlines calling capabilities, SkypeOut is 3$/month with illimited call in Canada/USA... sounds like it can work for us (yeah, I know, there's the 911 thing to take into account))

Re:No problem, there ar Open Source apps. (2, Interesting)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 4 years ago | (#28894235)

You can call POTS phones with any SIP client. I generally use the one built in to my mobile phone in preference to using the mobile network. You just need a company that handles the bridging. I use sipgate [sipgate.co.uk], who seem to offer good value in the UK, but there are a lot and there's nothing stopping you from using a different one for every country you call, unlike Skype where you have a single supplier for POTS bridging.

Re:No problem, there ar Open Source apps. (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28894255)

Yes you can. Unlike Skype, you're not bound to a central service provider with a dictating price model. You can choose one of the numerous SIP (or IAX, i don't know if Ekiga even supports it) service providers [voip-info.org]. Many of those that I've looked at are local providers, but with decent rates for long distance too. A lot of them are offering pre-paid plans, so it's easy and cheap to try, and you can later upgrade to a flatrate model if you so wish.

Or, you could even set up a gateway service yourself [voip-info.org], if you want to afford the hardware and/or tinker with open software. Or why not a full-blown telephony server like Asterisk [asterisk.org] while you're at it?

True to the free software ideas, you have all the choice you want, the burden is just to review it all and to find something to fit your needs.

Currently, it's all rather open from a security viewpoint as well - but the technology is still young, and hey, it's probably not less secure than skype [heise.de] :)

Payback time ! (1, Flamebait)

xscess (1482615) | more than 4 years ago | (#28893801)

Countless have lost money on eBay due to gross negligences of eBay and Paypal.

Now its payback time. Thanks guys (Niklas Zennstrom and Janus Friis).

Solution (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28893821)

They should open-source Skype and let the community work around the problem.

These aren't good people... (3, Informative)

supersat (639745) | more than 4 years ago | (#28893833)

Remember that before they started Skype, the founders of Skype created KaZaA, notorious for its immense crapfest of malware [wikipedia.org]. I'm not at all surprised that they're trying to screw over eBay now.

Of course, not that eBay is much better...

Open Source answer: Ekiga (1)

David Gerard (12369) | more than 4 years ago | (#28893861)

Ekiga! [ekiga.org]

(On the GNUphone [today.com].)

Re:Open Source answer (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28894071)

It's not about Ekiga or any other specific software - it's about open protocols, codecs and network service.

There are plenty of great softphones around, even integrated in devices.

My Nokia has a SIP VoIP client pretty nicely integrated with the phone. It's not open source but it's standard compliant. I can make or receive calls from anywhere I find a free WiFi - provided I can reach my server through it.

I can also use an Android phone or a laptop - with the added advantage of being able to text chat over Jabber and make the call over Jingle. The Jabber protocol has the extra advantage of federation - everyone can have an account in his own domain, just like mail. No need to have agreements between provides like in SIP or trust hierarcies in H.323

Oovoo (2, Informative)

PhilHibbs (4537) | more than 4 years ago | (#28893865)

I sometimes use Oovoo instead of skype, as it can do 3-way video calling for free, and more-way calls if one of you has a paid account. It's not quite as good as Skype for 2-way calls, but the 3-way video is nice to have.

Nice (2, Interesting)

should_be_linear (779431) | more than 4 years ago | (#28893867)

On Linux, Skype is buggy as hell. It would be actually good if they go away and someone like Google step in with something functional. They need it anyway for their Chrome OS.

Re:Nice (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28893957)

On Linux, Skype is buggy as hell. It would be actually good if they go away and someone like Google step in with something functional. They need it anyway for their Chrome OS.

Crap. Why does it always have to be Google? Google my ass! There are lots of other companies out there or even non-profit oriented projects (think Ekiga or OpenWengo, for instance) that could do the same or _at_least_ near the level of quality as Skype. Posts like these reflect the crack-smoking and stupid mentality of everyone here that Google is the infallible shiny savior of the world. You're forgetting that it is just another profit-driven company.

Re:Nice (1)

linhares (1241614) | more than 4 years ago | (#28894119)

Crap. Why does it always have to be Google? Google my ass! There are lots of other companies out there or even non-profit oriented#####THIS MESSAGE HAS BEEN INTERCEPTED AND THE USER HAS BEEN TERMINATED, FOLLOWING PROTOCOL A45F.

Re:Nice (1)

sulimma (796805) | more than 4 years ago | (#28894139)

Well, long before there was the Skype protocol there was SIP, an open standard.
There are dozens of SIP implementations around and thousand of SIP to POTS and POTS to SIP gateway providers that allow you to call landlines and provide a phone number.

When Skype was invented it was a solution without a problem, but the marketing clearly was better than for any SIP implementation so it prevailed.

Also, the paradox of choice scares people away from sip, but it actually is a GOOD thing that there are so many providers around as they are all interoperable.

Re:Nice (3, Informative)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 4 years ago | (#28894259)

Exactly. Pick up any Nokia phone with WiFi and there's a SIP client you can use. It's integrated into the rest of the system, and you can set it as the preferred method of calling when there is a WiFi signal. You have the choice of a number of different SIP to POTS gateways, so you can pick whichever one gives the best value for the kind of calling you do.

Re:Nice (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28894193)

On Linux, Skype is buggy as hell. It would be actually good if they go away and someone like Google step in with something functional. They need it anyway for their Chrome OS.

That is due to the buggy nature of Linux... if Linux sound [adobe.com] is so problematic, I can imagine that the video interfaces are no less shitty.

Mmmm. I think I will post this as AC... this kind of posts are not liked by Linux zealots around here

Re:Nice (1)

xous (1009057) | more than 4 years ago | (#28894303)

It's actually not that hard.

If you want portability across *nix variations use OSS as ALSA has an emulation layer. If you only need Linux support use ALSA.

needs tag: AndNothingOfValueWasLost (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28893883)

Really now, what could be more insignificant than skype? An INTENTIONALLY non-standard, incompatible, non-interoperable protocol with increasingly bloated closed source client side bloatware / spyware needed to run it, and a laughably bad "[fake] security through obscurity" design.

VOIP is the future of audio communications, and to be truly of value to society it must be based upon open standards with a healthy competitive environment of multiple competing implementations to ensure that there is and will remain a diversity of portable high quality clients. SIP with ZTRP may not be perfect, but at least it is an open standard, with freely available cross platform implementations, and features true and verifiable security. Skype on the other hand has no meaningful security since the server side presumably has (for no good reason) access to all of your communications, and the given the closed source / unpublished protocol you can't be sure what kind of spyware / malware / insecure software is running client side.

Granted some of the open source standard SIP protocol and H.323/H.263 conferencing clients haven't been all that high quality or made all that portable in the past, but that has changed or will soon change. High level portable software development and runtime environments like JAVAFX, JAVA, CLR, QT, et. al. will make it easier and easier to put together a "pretty" and "user friendly" portable VOIP / video conferencing application in just a few lines of code. Features, GUI design, portability are hardly going to be reasons for anyone to want to run someone's non-standard and non-interoperable IM / VOIP / Video conferencing software as more secure, stable, interoperable, portable solutions emerge. So the only thing that would possibly interest anyone in using a proprietary / closed / non interoperable solution would be P.T. Barnum style "screw the consumer" marketing, and iPhone style walled garden censorship of better software / protocol alternatives.

Didn't we gladly evolve the internet beyond the stage of non interoperable non standard protocols like the AOL of the past decades in favor of ubiquitously available standards compliant communications protocols like IP because we realized that things like email, web browsing, et. al. are basic forms of communication and MUST be standardized in open fashions for the good of everyone? Why would we continue to perpetuate the same kind of defective / incompatible / insecure by design protocols like Skype or several of the IM systems like MSN / Yahoo et. al. when we have easy choices to pick better alternatives that will let EVERYONE communicate securely and openly.

Just look at the other news stories of the day about the notorious insecurity, instability, and bad portability of other closed system internet media applications like FLASH. Don't let more of these kinds of crapware / bloatware protocols infect (literally) the internet and create a tower of babylon where nobody can communicate because everyone is speaking some different language / protocol.

Isn't it a little strange that we're in an era of ubiquitous VIDEO communication on the internet with systems like Silverlight, Hulu, YouTube, et. al. and yet something as simple as portable, secure, non-bloated IM and VOIP clients yet eludes us to the point that anyone CARES about Skype?

YES (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28893893)

Skype was lovely when it was new, but compared to open SIP technology, forcing all your contacts to install some closed client is just embarrassingly retro. It's like ICQ and AIM back in the day before Pidgin and Trillian.

If we get out of this with an voice-supporting XMPP client, it will be worth it.

A few years ago (4, Interesting)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 4 years ago | (#28893901)

I used to communicate with my wife when she was out of town on business. The fortune 500 co she worked for had no problem letting her install Skype on her laptop, so it worked for both of us - free computer to computer calls when she was in Turkey, Argentina, Hong Kong, etc. Our biggest problem was the time zone difference.

      Then about a year ago the company's IT department decided that Skype was "bad", and disabled it on all company laptops. My solution? An ubuntu live CD and ekiga. Now we can communicate again when she's away.

i feel a reimplementation comming on (3, Insightful)

timmarhy (659436) | more than 4 years ago | (#28894023)

these guys are shooting the goose that laid the golden egg. ebay will merely strip out the offending code and implement their own solution. maybe a little painful but i can assure you they aren't throwing up their arms and saying this isn't fixable, lets give up on that 2 billion bucks we spent...

Re:i feel a reimplementation comming on (2, Informative)

TheSunborn (68004) | more than 4 years ago | (#28894107)

Except for the fact, that this would require all their 50 million users to upgrade their Skype software. Because Ebay can't make an compability version of the prodotol due to patents.

(And many of those skype installs are on mobile phones, where an upgrade may not be that easy for most users).
 

Re:i feel a reimplementation comming on (1)

timmarhy (659436) | more than 4 years ago | (#28894289)

so what, no software vendor has ever rolled out a major upgrade before? even given the problems with firmware updates it's not impossible, but i'm telling you it's a fuck load more possible then ebay walking away from a 2 billion dollar investment as the summary implies.

Paving the way for adding costs? (1)

Delkster (820935) | more than 4 years ago | (#28894073)

Could this be used for paving the way to the end of free-of-charge services, or to make other such changes to the service?

If you try to turn a free-of-charge service into a paid service for an existing and established user base, the users will revolt, but if you first threaten that you may have to take away the service altogether and then go "ah, but we just might be able to save it if you start paying us so that we can afford the new licensing costs...", business users might be relieved that they can avoid the greater one-time expense of switching to a different system and be much more willing to start paying for the service.

Whatever happened to Wengo? (4, Interesting)

schweini (607711) | more than 4 years ago | (#28894101)

On a related note: there used to be this nice open source skype-alternative (using SIP and all that) called openwengo, but i cant find it anymore. the company also offered a flash based SIP client (wengovisio), and a flash-based teleconferencing thing (wengomeetings), but i cant find any of them anymore. quite a pity.

a little side-rant: the person that designed the SIP protocol in such an incredibly NAT-unfriendly manner should be drawn and quartered. I know there are work-arounds, but i blame this NAT-unfriendliness for the rise of skype, and now we're stuck with that nonstandard closed protocol crap. I think it was the glorious idea of incorporating the IP addresses inside the SIP packets, or something like that. sigh.

on a related note: whatever happened to Google's open-source VoIP thingy that incorporated with XMPP/Jabber? I think it was called 'Jingle', but I haven't heard a lot about it since then. And what protocol is Google using for their video-chat in gmail?

Re:Whatever happened to Wengo? (1)

linhares (1241614) | more than 4 years ago | (#28894205)

Google Talk uses libjingle [wikipedia.org]. From the wikipedia article: "As of March 2008[update], the Jingle standards are marked as being 'proposed', meaning that it has not yet been approved by the XMPP Standards Foundation but is considered for advancement to the next stage of the standards process. In June 2009, on Jingle specifications website is notice: "Implementations are encouraged and the protocol is appropriate for deployment in production systems, but some changes to the protocol are possible before it becomes a Final Standard."

The libjingle library, used by Google Talk to implement Jingle, has been released to the public under a Berkeley-style license. However, the version of the protocol that libjingle (and by extension Google Talk) implements differs from that published by the XMPP Software Foundation. Currently, most software which advertises support for Jingle is limited to Google Talk compatibility."

Re:Whatever happened to Wengo? (1)

xtracto (837672) | more than 4 years ago | (#28894221)

Well, some say it is dead while others say that it is not [gnome.org]

Apparently, it is now called QuteCom

However, it seems its kind of in a "sleeping" state

Re:Whatever happened to Wengo? (5, Informative)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 4 years ago | (#28894293)

the person that designed the SIP protocol in such an incredibly NAT-unfriendly manner should be drawn and quartered

SIP was created in 1996. Widespread deployment of NAT didn't begin until several years later. Back then, everyone thought we'd have moved to IPv6 before v4 addresses became sufficiently scarce that NAT looked like a good idea.

whatever happened to Google's open-source VoIP thingy that incorporated with XMPP/Jabber? I think it was called 'Jingle', but I haven't heard a lot about it since then.

It's still called Jingle. It's been published as a series of XEPs (XMPP Enhancement Proposals; think XMPP-specific RFCs), and anyone can implement it. It has a number of transports (via proxy, in-band, direct connection, STUN) and can be used to negotiate pretty much any stream connection.

And what protocol is Google using for their video-chat in gmail?

Jingle.

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