Skype is losing it :(

SankSkypeI’ve been a big fan of Skype, pretty much since its beginning. In fact, for a while it’s been my main means of communication. To a degree it is true even today. This is why it is particularly sad that Skype is losing it. Basically I am talking about its services getting worse and more expensive at the same time.

Skype-out is probably the only service that has improved in the recent years. That is probably natural, because this is one of the main, if not the main, paid services Skype offers. However, everything else is simply getting worse…

The regular, Skype-to-Skype calls are more or less ok, especially if you are ready to screen out the background noises, echoes, and frequent delays. Things become really bad when you are trying to have a long conversation. It seems like the skype-machine somewhere out there is heating and just stop functioning at some point, which results in a call drop. The first drop happens after 30-40 minutes, and if you are trying to call the same user again, your calls would drop even at a higher frequency with every consequent attempt. If you are using video then the call drop issue appears even faster. I think after about 15 minutes it simply disconnects.

An even more annoying “feature”, which i noticed in the last few weeks is that the chat function in Skype delays delivery of the messages. This is more or less the only IM program i know that has this problem. In fact, you can never know if what you’ve typed, reached the person on the other side. After a while it may (or sometimes, may not) show you a message “X messages not delivered yet” and it may stay there for very long periods. Sometimes logging off and back in helps, but sometimes it doesn’t. In the last few weeks it became realy frequent and really annoying.

It wouldn’t be that annoying if MSN, for example, wouldn’t perform all the same functions with higher reliability. Although the quality of sound and video are not as good, they are at least stable. The chat function there doesn’t have this annoying glitch of undelivered messages. Not surprisingly, recently i am finding myself more and more on MSN.
As i said, the Skype-out sound quality has probably improved. At the same time, this improvement is coming along with an increase in price. It seems to me that skype-out is reaching the point where it will make no difference if one is using it, or a regular phone company that has clear advantages in terms of reliability.

In general, the pricing strategy of Skype is indeed annoying. I had a Skype-in number for a year. But after that they simply doubled the price, which made it an absolutely useless deal, at least for me. I have a mobile phone, which is in fact my primary number, so paying over $60 a year for an additional number doesn’t make much sense. At the same time, you cannot really make Skype your primary number and give up the mobile, because Skype’s mobility (and reliability) is limited (at least provided the gadgets i have).

I also tried using Skype-zones, a service it provides together with Boingo that is supposed to give you access to the hundreds of Boingo-operated hot-spots all over the world. I tried it a few times. In some cases it worked. In others i didn’t really need it, because the hot-spot was free anyway. But in most cases it just failed to access the hot-spot using the Skype-Boyingo widget. Last time, this summer, it was particularly annoying because it didn’t manage to provide the service even once.

The bottom line of my observation is that Skype is losing it. The basic service it became known for, is getting worse and the new ones are not competitive. So, unless there will be a major update and/or change in strategy, it is about time to thank Skype for the breakthrough in VoIP, and move on to look for the next solution that will be able to deliver.

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14 Responses to “Skype is losing it :(”

  1. Leonid Says:

    Never trust a closed protocol. They always get out of hand sooner or later.

  2. lisa Says:

    Leonid, that would be my main point too!

    Seemingly unrelated but actually quite related: Skype and the madness of management teams (eBay failing to monetise Skype)

  3. Dima Says:

    Thank you guys! Do you have an open source alternative to recommend?
    As to the article, Lisa, it is indeed interesting and is fitting my guts feeling that web 2.0 is getting bubbly…

  4. Leonid Says:

    Open protocol, not open source. The openness of the source has absolutely nothing to do with that.
    And yes, use GoogleTalk for messaging and PC-to-PC communications.

  5. Dima Says:

    right…
    but as we discussed GT doesn’t have video… what was the other option?

  6. lisa Says:

    There are a lot and I never tried any of them… never seriously needed to I guess. I’m sure you could find this by yourself but I linked to this well over a year ago and it’s still useful: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Comparison_of_VoIP_software (from old posts criticising Skype )

  7. lisa Says:

    SightSpeed may interest you

  8. Dima Says:

    Thanks!

  9. Skype IS loosing it « ::: Think Macro ::: Says:

    […] Skype IS loosing it Seems like i am not the only one to observe Skype loosing it. […]

  10. BAron Charlus Says:

    Defenitevely, SKYPE is loosing it with the “Message delayed” unsolved problem. I has become ureliable and I will soon stop using it and pass to MSN.

  11. Jared Buck Says:

    I am sick of this message not delivered issue, it keeps showing the loading circle next to messages sometimes, it is frustrating both me and one friend I talk to (the only reason I have skype in the first place).

    I am considering having my friend (she’s not particularly computer literate) switch from skype to using a different chat program. it’s bugging me to no end.

  12. Dima Says:

    Jared, isn’t it a bit better in the new version?

  13. Elaine lawson Says:

    LOADING CIRCLE EVERY TIME I TYRPE IS COMING ON AND THE RECIPIENT DOES NOT RECEIVE MESSAGES. URGENTLY REPLY IS IN ORDER PLEASE AS IT IS MY MAIN MEANS OF COMMUNICATION WITH BOYFRIEND

    • Dima Says:

      Sorry to hear that. Unfortunately I do not have a solution other than trying a different application. I must say though it’s much better than it used to be.

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