WebEx vs Skype
Latest news about WebEx and Skype:
05.03.14. Skype for Outlook.com now available worldwide. The opportunity to make video calls via Skype right from your browser is now available for all Outlook.com users (previously this feature was only available in US and UK). In fact - this is Skype's web version, however, it doesn't mean that you don't need to install software on your computer. You still need to install browser plugin. But the plus is that you don't need to create a separate Skype-account. You just need the universal Microsoft account. Besides the global expansion, Outlook.com now can make video-calls in HD. Thus, Microsoft's Outlook.com is playing catch up with Google's GMail, that already has video calling feature via Google Hangouts. However, the advantage of Google's service is that it supports free group video calls for up to 10 people.
2013. Skype gives free group videochat and screen-sharing for 2014. Skype (or Microsoft ?) team from time to time invents some strange projects and tries to link them to Skype. For example, a year ago they tried to launch the social network Skype In The Workspace. And earlier this month they created Skype Collaboration Project. It's a site for creative people where they can get closer to the industries they love, get inspired and get on ... blah blah blah ... Victoria Beckham ... blah blah blah. At least, this project resulted in the substantial benefit: in order to draw attention to this site Skype is running the great holiday promotion. Anyone who visit Skype Collaboration Project and enter email, can get Skype's premium account features for the whole next year. It includes group video chat, screen-sharing and no advertising.
2013. Skype Video Messaging is generally available for free. Despite all expectations, Skype didn't lock video mail (introduced in winter) in the premium version. Today Skype announced that this new feature is out of beta and is available to all users for free. In addition, video messaging becomes available in Windows-client and Blackberry app (at first it only worked on Mac, iOS and Android). Only Windows Phone users remain disadvantaged. How to use Skype Video Messaging? Watch the video.
2013. Microsoft connected Lync and Skype. Almost 300 million people around the world use Skype. This is a very large customer base, that's why many companies add skype-address to their contacts in order to offer customers a convenient communication channel. But in large companies using Skype at the workplace - doesn't fit the corporate security policy. Therefore, the integration of Skype with Lync communication server can become a breakthrough for deploying Skype in large companies. And thus Microsoft can get a significant competitive advantage over Cisco, Avaya and other enterprise communication vendors. That's was the main reason why Microsoft acquired Skype for a lot of money.
2013. Skype comes to Outlook.com. Finally Microsoft begins to integrate Skype into its products. The main competitor Google already for a long time provides the chat with voice and video in the email service GMail. Therefore from the Microsoft's side (having the Skype) it would be a crime not to add the same functionality into the Outlook.com. And that's exactly what they done. True, for now this feature is only available in UK and only in few weeks it will appear for the rest of us. To enable chat, voice and video calls in your Outlook.com inbox, you'll have to install the browser plug-in (for Internet Explorer, Chrome or Firefox) like in the GMail. You can use Skype with your existing Microsoft account, so you don't have to create a new account. If you already have a Skype account, you can link it to your Microsoft account - your Skype contacts will appear in your contact list and you can call or message them directly from Outlook.com.
2013. Promarket - industrial classifieds on top of Skype. Recently Skype started the strange attempt to create a business social network (or community) Skype In The Workspace. Now another startup Promaket is trying to create something similar. And it looks like their version make more sense. At least, in Promarket the communication space is divided by industry and focused on buy/sell transactions. For example, if you are selling fish, you enter the Fish chat and spam other fish-traders with your offers, or read their offers. Chat can be filtered by different keywords or by subject (buy / sell). And if you find an interesting offer - you can contact its author via private chat or make a Skype call.
2012. Skype In The Workspace - Microsoft wants to make a social network based on Skype. Looks like Microsoft has an overload of ideas on what to do with Skype, and these is no one who can kill these ideas in time. The new service called Skype In The Workspace is a combination of social network and a freelance marketplace for entrepreneurs and small businesses. There you can post opportunities (or projects) and invite people to discuss them. Of course, the discussions are hold in Skype. According to Microsoft, the service has been tested for 6 months, and now it comes out of beta. But it looks very primitive, incomplete and still haven't gained any popularity among uses. Although, there is one interesting thing in it - the authorization. It's possible not only via Skype ID, but also using your LinkedIn credentials (and no other options). So, this is one more addition to rumors that Microsoft may acquire LinkedIn.
2012. Microsoft replacing Windows Live Messenger with Skype. Glorious 12-year history of Microsoft's Windows-messenger is coming to the end. The company begins transition of 100 million Windows Live Messenger users to Skype (which currently counts 280 million users). The latest version Skype 6.0 (for Windows and Mac) already allows to login using a Microsoft account. After doing so, Messenger contacts are brought over as well. Now it's interesting whether the quality of communication in Skype will suffer after such a significant increase in user base. According to numerous users, Skype quality has already started to degrade in recent month, probably because of Microsoft's manipulations for integrating Skype into its products. Recall, Microsoft acquired Skype last year for $8.5 billion. Later it turned out that Microsoft, paid billions because of its senior executive, Joe Williams, who ran the Microsoft Lync business, believed that Skype was going to eat Microsoft’s lunch in the enterprise.
2012. Skype + Windows Phone 8 = ideal communication device. Skype has never been a complete communication app for smartphones. At first because of the lack of multitasking, then, because it didn't work in the sleep mode, and then, because Skype quickly drain battery. But in the new operating system Windows Phone 8 (which was released yesterday) all these problems are solved. While Microsoft didn't dare to inbuild Skype in the desktop version Windows 8 (to avoid antitrust problems), no one stopped the company of making Skype an integrated part of the mobile OS Windows Phone (at the hardware level). It's fully integrated with phone contacts and allows to receive calls in the same way as calls via the regular GSM network (of course if you have internet connection). So now, buying Windows Phone, you are buying not just a mobile computer, but also an ideal terminal for free/cheap communication.
2012. Microsoft created Skype for Windows 8. Skype for Windows 8 is already in production (at least on the video it works fine). Microsoft promises that it will be available on October 26 with the release of Windows 8. There are no considerable changes Skype, except, of course, its interface. It's optimized for touch-screen tablets. But more interesting is that Skype will become the integrated component in Windows. Hardly Microsoft will inbuild Skype in Windows (to avoid antitrust claims), but, for sure, Skype will be placed on the first page in Windows Store - the main source for Windows 8 apps. And if someone wants to install t his tablet or computer app for video chat and IP-telephony, the first thing he sees - is Skype. Thus, the bright future of Skype will be secured, but, of course, it depends on the bright future of the operating system Windows itself.
2012. Skype finally comes to Windows Phone. Nine months (!) after Microsoft announced the acquisition of Skype, this messenger finally comes to Windows Phone (in beta version so far). Interestingly, already after the deal with Microsoft, Skype appeared on the competing platform Android and before that it worked on the iPhone. The things got so bad that in November 2011 Microsoft began to preinstall the alternative video chat app Tango on Windows Phones. But now this circus is over - Skype for Windows Phone is already available for free download from the marketplace. However, it doesn't work in the background, so for now you have to launch it every time to make a call or send a message (or launch it to receive a call). Also the beta version doesn't allow to add/edit contacts. And if the absence of Skype was the only thing that stopped you from buying Windows Phone, do not forget about the main thing - check that the Windows Phone has a front camera when you buy it.
2012. Skype adds Full HD support, group screen-sharing. The new version of Skype for Windows 5.8 is already available. And it adds support of high-quality video calls in Full HD (1080p). However, to use this feature you'll need an internet channel not less than 2 Mbps and a special HD web-camera that can perform hardware video compression (e.g. Logitech C920). In addition, now it's possible to share your screen (or a separate application) to a group of people. Earlier, screen-sharing in Skype worked only in one-to-one calls. However, this feature is only available in the paid version. But the free version of Skype now allows to make video calls to your contacts from Facebook. Even if these contacts don't have installed Skype. They just have to open a browser window with Facebook.
2012. Free Webex is already available. As Cisco promised, its web-conferencing service WebEx is becoming free. True, the number of free conference hosts (i.e. users that can create and manage online meetings) was reduced from 3 to 1. But the free disk space was increased up to 1 GB. The free online meeting can support up to 25 people simultaneously and provide the variety of tools: screen-sharing, whiteboard, remote control, file sharing, presentations, VoIP, video in HD-format, recording. You might be surprised that the service is currently in Beta status (after all, WebEx has been the web-conferencing market leader for many years). The fact that it's not just the free version. It's a new version of WebEx, which in addition to web-conferencing adds a workspace for collaboration before and after online meeting.
2011. WebEx adds free version, online office workspace. Finally, the most popular Web-conferencing service Cisco WebEx is getting closer to small business. At the Collaboration Summit in Miami Cisco has introduced the new version of Webex and the subscription free plan for 3 people and 250 MB of space. In addition to basic functions (screen-sharing, whiteboard, online presentations, document collaboration, VoIP and instant messaging) the free version also provides video conferencing (but not in HD-quality). Of course, there are several other web-conferencing services that offer free version, but WebEx differs by high quality and extensive functionality. According to the Cisco representatives the free version is already available, but we couldn't find it on the WebEx site. So, let's wait. We also have to wait till Q1 2012 for the new version of WebEx, which includes the very interesting feature - online workspace.
2011. Nokia and Skype not in a hurry to bring videochat to Windows Phone. Today in London, Nokia unveiled its first smartphones on Windows Phone (Mango) platform - Lumia 710 and Lumia 800. In general, they haven't disappointed anyone. Stylish, high quality, fast and reliable smartphones with pre-installed Mobile Office and Outlook, integrated to Exchange, SkyDrive, SharePoint, Office 365 - will surely attract business users. Of course, the price $580 (Lumia 800) - is not much different from the iPhone, but otherwise it has all chances to compete with iPhone and Android-devices. The only big cons - is that Nokia Lumia has no front camera, which means it doesn't support video chat, so important for business users. Why wasn't it installed? Nokia representative said that they simply had not enough time. But this is not the most shocking news about the video chat on Windows Phone.
2011. Skype opens App Store. Skype is making the second attempt to create the developer ecosystem around its service. The first attempt - Skype Extras - left an unpleasant aftertaste for developers. In 2009, after Skype was sold, the company unexpectedly announced that the Skype Extras catalog will be closed. Nevertheless the Extras where accessible in the Skype client until now, but users couldn't buy them using Skype credits. The new app directory is called Skype Apps and it replaces Extras in the Skype's Tools menu. But you also can't buy the applications in Skype Apps using Skype-credits. You have to go to the third-party site and order each application separately. The Skype Apps includes the special section for business apps. Basically there are apps for Call-Centers, call recording, screen-sharing, faxing and integration with other systems.
2011. Skype acquired group-messaging service GroupMe. Mobile group-messaging services hit the social Web this year. Basically they are designed for communication and interaction with friends and family, but (as we know) such social technologies are rapidly find their way into Enterprise. One of such services GroupMe was yesterday bought by Skype for as much as $80 million. GroupMe allows to create a group and send text messages, photos to its members, start conference calls and share your location. For example, you send a message and all group members instantly receive it. Or you can call all them at once. Such a service could be useful for mobile work-groups, which need real-time communications. For example, equipment service companies.
2011. GoToMeetings adds HD-video. Goes apart from Skype? . Last March, before Skype was acquired by Microsoft, it announced that the GoToMeating web-conferencing tools will be integrated into Skype's client. It could be a logical partnership because GoToMeeting and Skype are often used together to organize online meetings. But then Microsoft bought Skype, and apparently the plan was changed. After all, Microsoft and Citrix (the owner of GoToMeeting) - are more rivals than friends. Anyway, yesterday GoToMeeting launched the new version with its own video tool called HDFaces. Moreover, HDFaces can not just replace Skype for GoToMeeting users, but also compete with Skype in the global enterprise video meating market.
2011. Tango launches Windows-apps, gets 42 million to replace Skype. After Microsoft's Skype acquisition we started looking for its replacement as of public communication service. And, apparently, not only we, but also the investors who want to raise money on this project. From now one of the main contenders for the Skype's place - is Tango. It has just closed $42 million in its Series B round of funding led by Draper Fisher Jurvetson, notably the first outside investors in Skype. Tango launched 18 months ago and already has 18 million users. Every 2 weeks it adds a million. Until now, Tango was a mobile service. It allowed to make video calls on iPhone, iPad and Android (smartphones and tablets). But now it introduced the Windows app, and soon plans to create the Mac-client. So how is Tango different from Skype?
2011. Skype as a Service - mission impossible. A couple of years ago, the IT world was excited with the idea of using Skype as a service - when any application, web-service, mobile client and any device could "talk" via Skype's network. This dream in theory came true last year when the SkypeKit SDK was launched in the closed beta. However, during the whole year SkypeKit SDK was actually used only by the couple of TV manufacturers and (perhaps) for Facebook integration. Earlier this month SkypeKit SDK was opened to all comers, but we still haven't seen any boom of new Skype-applications. And this time noone can blame Microsoft.