Skype's No. 1 Priority: Ease of Use

Posted by: Olga Kharif on April 21, 2008

Skype’s new CEO, Josh Silverman outlined his plans for the company for the first time today, a few months after assuming the position in February. He says that his No. 1 priority is making Skype easier to use.

The focus on ease of use starts with the download and ends with video features, he said. Today Skype also announced its new unlimited subscriptions plans, which allow users to make unlimited calls to landline phones in Mexico for $6 a month and to landlines in 34 countries for $10 a month. Many Skype power users will breathe a sigh of relief, as they now won’t have to constantly recharge their Skype credits.

So, I’ve been putting together my wish list for what changes I’d like Skype to make. One idea: Why can’t Skype do away with the download altogether? After all, we can already use Skype calling buttons on eBay. So why can’t a fuller set of functionalities be available in the same manner, through a Web page? A lot of people worry that downloading programs onto their computers would lead to security breaches. So it seems to me that getting rid of the download would lead to an explosion in the service’s user base. I am not a programmer, of course, and am not sure if that’s even possible to do. What do you think? And what’s your wish list of Skype improvements?

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Reader Comments

J.A. Watson

April 23, 2008 04:17 AM

The functionality you are looking for, video chat without downloading and installing a program, already exists - just not in Skype. Take a look at SightSpeed (www.sightspeed.com), they have a MySightSpeed utility which lets others video chat with registered SightSpeed users via a web page, and even more interesting and exciting, they have a new MySpace gadget that lets MySpace users chat with each other without.

As for a Skype "wish list", first and foremost they must have some sort of decent Customer Support, it is absolutely disgraceful for a company of that size, with that many customers to have no Customer Support at all; second they need to implement a billing system which does not block customers' accounts at the drop of a hat, and then take days, weeks or months to response to repeated pleas for help or even and explanation of why the account was blocked.

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BusinessWeek writers Peter Burrows, Cliff Edwards, Olga Kharif, Aaron Ricadela, Douglas MacMillan, and Spencer Ante dig behind the headlines to analyze what’s really happening throughout the world of technology. One of the first mainstream media tech blogs, Tech Beat covers everything from tech bellwethers like Apple, Google, and Intel and emerging new leaders such as Facebook to new technologies, trends, and controversies.

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