Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Skype makes a small ripple, but no Splash with new VM features.

Over a year ago, I talked about a Skype/Spinvox deal and I was admittedly lukewarm to the idea. I have been critical of Skype's Voicemail Strategy (VM) and I think for good reason.

Skype's VM service is proprietary and closed, this severely limits its usefulness, and for some reason Skype refuses to add any significant resources to this feature. You can't listen to a Skype VM message unless you are logged into your client. It has remained unchanged for the better part of 3-4 years, until now.

Today, Skype has made some 'upgrades?' to this service - announced @ Ecomm (I think) Skype has (finally) integrated with the Spinvox API, and now allows Voice to SMS transcribing of your messages for a cost of .25cents PLUS the cost of up to 3 SMS messages depending on the length of the transcription. There is no email option (which would be trivial to add) so you have to pay the piper twice. I don't think this will be very significant in the long term, it is far too expensive, and the nature of Skype's VM service limits its usefulness anyway.

The other news regarding Skype's VM feature upgrade, is the ability to receive txt ($) and email (free) alerts that you have a VM waiting for you. This is a welcome upgrade, but frankly still falls far short of what would be expected of a Voice 2.0 service today. You can also call a Skype to Go number to listen to your VM if you live one of the 11 countries that has Skype To Go numbers.

I am (I think) rightfully critical of Skype's VM strategy. In other posts I have asked for the following as a minimum.

A web interface and portal of my messages would really tie me to Skype as a communication tool, even when I am not logged onto the p2p. Every other VoIP solution currently offered in NA/or the world provides this basic form of Unified Messaging.

Personally I wouldn't pay for the SpinVox solution, if it was free I would probably use it - I imagine more text/SMS centric people will think differently. But as a member of the Blackberry faithful I would rather just get an attachment sent to my mobile/email, that I can then store and forward a la' Apple's new Visual VM for the iPhone.

Messaging could be major area for revenue @ Skype, they have the ability to create something much better than what Google offers with Grandcentral, and users will gladly pay! I don't know why; but they dip their toes into the messaging pool, rather than cannon balling off the high dive. They need to make a huge splash, not a ripple.

Jim Courtney's thoughts here:

Skype Voicemail to Text via SpinVox: Tell Me Why?

No comments: