Sunday, July 03, 2005

SIPphone.com puts out another IM/voice Skype alternative

David Beckemeyer- Mr Blog


SIPphone.com already launched PhoneGaim last fall. Now they are launching another Skype-like application called Gizmo. In their newsletter titled Skype Bad, Gizmo Good they hammer Skype:
At a recent conference, a Skype founder suggested "regulating the incumbents" to force others to carry Skype calls. Skype calls go over the public Internet, but are often carried on telephone company wiring (DSL) which Skype is worried could be configured to block their calls. They are proposing that the government should step in and demand that those telephone company networks carry Skype calls.
Meanwhile, Skype is refusing to carry anyone else's calls on their own phone system. They are engaging in exact behavior - they are worried about others trying. Skype can't have it both ways. If Skype wants to lock others out of their system, shouldn't the telephone companies have the same right also?
SIPphone.com really stresses the open standard and interoperability aspects of Gizmo and for my part, I couldn't agree more.
They do say "Gizmo matches Skype's features plus adds some neat ones" and I'm not sure I'd go that far yet. The app does look really good on Mac OS X and is perhaps the best looking Voice/IM app I've seen, especially one that supports SIP. The first thing I noticed missing in Gizmo was a "Find People" option to find people on the network. Without that, the "nobody to talk to problem" (the fax problem) smacks one in the face right away. I don't think Gizmo matches Skype's built-in multi-chat and conferencing capabilities yet either. I'm sure Skype aficionados will find many things that Gizmo won't do yet.
The main limitation for Skype users of course is that Gizmo doesn't interoperate with Skype. You cannot call your Skype buddies. Now you and I know that what is really going on is that Skype is the one that doesn't interoperate. Other services interoperate with each other: FWD, SIPphone, thousands of smaller services, businesses, universities, and many other net calling communities. Only Skype has elected not to interoperate. So in fact, Gizmo interoperates with any service, PBX, or network using SIP, i.e. every service out there except Skype. But the business reality is that no matter what other features any Skype-like Gizmo has, lacking interoperabiluty with Skype will be a real barrier to adoption. And of course it will always appear to be the other guy's fault. Skype always seems to get away Scot free with the community.
I wish Gizmo well though, and I hope they attract millions of users. I certainly hope the populace will wake up and move to an open-standards based platform (or at least that the SIP user-base grows enough that Skype users eventually demand that Skype interoperate).

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