With the news today that the Skype founders, Niklas Zennstrom and Janus Friis have quit Skype as eBay decide they’ve paid too much for the company, the future of the online telephony service is feeling a bit more shaky.
Skype for all it has done for introducing IP based telephony to the masses is another example of how you can make money from software which doesn’t require you to pay anything for most of its usage.
So what next for the innovate two-some who dreamt up Skype (and promised it would always be free? we’ll see) ?
Joost, an internet-based TV/movie streaming service, was a closed beta service for a long time, with plenty of people wanting to peer over the fence to see what was going on.
Maybe triggered by this trouble with eBay, they’ve opened up the software for all to share and enjoy.
I had a quick go with it last night, and as long as you accept that its commercial television, the quality, choice, community features and on-demand abilities of it seem to have captured a balance between ease of access and advertising. Sure, there’s plenty of technology and development time to be paid for, hence the need for forced-advertising, but it is no worse than watching commercial TV.
Being a former BBC employee, I do normally have an objection to any form of advertising being forced upon me. This is especially fierce where commercial radio is concerned whose endless repeating adverts of sea-shanty double glazing adverts make me want to find the nearest baseball bat and shut the radio up. That’s why I much prefer the mix on Radio 1.
I’ll let you know if the amount of Joost advertising gets too much, but compared to Channel 4‘s 4OD service which puts a timeout on content very quickly, this could be more compelling.
Just need the BBC to produce a Mac version of their iPlayer and I’ll be watching TV online when I want (and legally).