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Microsoft Communications

Microsoft Kills Skype For Asterisk 271

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the we're-not-evil-any-more dept.
Avalon73 writes "I've been using Skype for Asterisk (Digium's native Skype client for their PBX software) since it was in beta 2 years ago. Today, I received an email from Digium stating that Skype (read: Microsoft) has decided to end the agreement that made the integration possible, and Digium will stop selling the module on July 26th. Support for us existing users will be there for the next 2 years, with Skype's option to renew at that time, but I'll believe that when I see it. So much for Microsoft's promise not to screw over the existing Skype user base."
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Microsoft Kills Skype For Asterisk

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  • by ge7 (2194648) on Tuesday May 24, 2011 @05:10PM (#36232574)
    It has begun [aijaa.com]
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Heh, I was just gonna post that.

      I foresee a world where Skype is MSN-ified into uselessness.

      Alternatives?

      • by TheLandyman (1130027) on Tuesday May 24, 2011 @05:25PM (#36232730)

        Alternatives?

        Facetime? :)

        • by Yvanhoe (564877)
          Written chat ?
          Seriously, the guys that hate that are usually the same kind of person that are uncomfortable with the idea that conversations are logged and that you are allowed to think a while before answering.
        • by mjwx (966435) on Tuesday May 24, 2011 @10:37PM (#36235458)

          Alternatives?

          Google Voice :)

          There, fixed that for you .

          GV is already integrated into Asterisk.

      • The only thing SIP is really lacking is NAT traversal, right?

        • by kobaz (107760)

          With a halfway decent router and properly configured sip devices, you can traverse NAT just fine.

          • Define "halfway decent". Can I do what I could do with Skype? That is, can I connect from behind pretty much any NAT router to anyone else in the world behind pretty much any NAT router of their own, using a central service only for control?

            • Re:Open standards? (Score:4, Informative)

              by kobaz (107760) on Tuesday May 24, 2011 @11:49PM (#36235918)

              End to end communication when both endpoints are behind NAT is a tricky problem. I don't know the skype protocol, did skype actually solve the problem, are the sessions truly end to end, NAT to NAT without the central server doing any proxying?

              SIP by itself cannot solve the problem when both endpoints are behind a NAT without specifically forwarded ports, but it does work well when properly configured and only one side is NAT'd, which is classically the case with any protocol.

              Halfway decent is hard to define. If it works, it's halfway decent at the minimum, heh. Most of your off the shelf consumer linksys, netgear, etc routers will handle passing sip just fine. Every so often you may run into a box that just fails miserably.

      • by smash (1351)
        Google talk? Its a jabber server?
    • by man_of_mr_e (217855) on Tuesday May 24, 2011 @05:46PM (#36233002)

      More than likely, this is just a cost saving measure by Skype to improve the books for the merger. Microsoft would have no say in such a minor thing at this point. The deal still has to go through FTC approval before Microsoft has any control over operations.

      It makes no sense why Microsoft would even care at this point. In fact, from Microsoft's perspective, the more money skype loses the better, as it drives the price down. Skype itself is the only one that would micro-manage this at this point.

      • Or (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Dcnjoe60 (682885) on Tuesday May 24, 2011 @06:32PM (#36233454)

        More than likely, this is just a cost saving measure by Skype to improve the books for the merger. Microsoft would have no say in such a minor thing at this point. The deal still has to go through FTC approval before Microsoft has any control over operations.

        It makes no sense why Microsoft would even care at this point. In fact, from Microsoft's perspective, the more money skype loses the better, as it drives the price down. Skype itself is the only one that would micro-manage this at this point.

        Or Skype knows that Microsoft wants these skype clients dropped and one explanation for paying so much over market price for skype could be that part of the "deal" is that Skype drops support for what Microsoft doesn't want before the purchase. That way, Microsoft can honestly say they didn't drop support for Asterisk or Linux or whatever. Happens all the time in mergers and acquisitions: "We really would like to purchase our company, but the operations in xyz create a real problem for us." Next thing you know, there aren't any operations in xyz.

        • Or... (Score:5, Funny)

          by QuasiSteve (2042606) on Tuesday May 24, 2011 @07:12PM (#36233828)

          Or disgruntled people among the executive ranks of Skype knew that people would come up with conspiracy theories by playing such a hand and are now cackling as not only do they walk away with millions but get to see Microsoft painted as the bad guy yet again!

        • Except if there is any kind of monkey business like prior collusion and such can cause serious issues with the merger. I know that the major tech merger I was involved in had the two companies all but ignoring one another for almost a year until the merger was complete.
        • Re:Or (Score:4, Insightful)

          by jvillain (546827) on Tuesday May 24, 2011 @08:20PM (#36234468)

          Microsoft paid over market value because most of that big pile of cash they are sitting on was made out side of the US and they can't bring it into the US without paying taxes on it. That is why the calls for bigger dividends are being ignored.

          So the game plan is to buy some thing out side of the US that may boost the value of some thing with in the US. That way they can avoid paying taxes. There aren't that many large companies that fit the bill. Skype based in Switzerland fits the bill nicely.

          • Switzerland? And there I was, thinking it was based in Luxembourg City almost across the street from my office
        • by exomondo (1725132)

          Or Skype knows that Microsoft wants these skype clients dropped and one explanation for paying so much over market price for skype could be that part of the "deal" is that Skype drops support for what Microsoft doesn't want before the purchase. That way, Microsoft can honestly say they didn't drop support for Asterisk or Linux or whatever. Happens all the time in mergers and acquisitions: "We really would like to purchase our company, but the operations in xyz create a real problem for us." Next thing you know, there aren't any operations in xyz.

          Yes im sure MS were so concerned about protecting that great image they have in the eyes of Asterisk users that they paid way over market price just to protect it.

          • by Narcogen (666692)

            Or Skype knows that Microsoft wants these skype clients dropped and one explanation for paying so much over market price for skype could be that part of the "deal" is that Skype drops support for what Microsoft doesn't want before the purchase. That way, Microsoft can honestly say they didn't drop support for Asterisk or Linux or whatever. Happens all the time in mergers and acquisitions: "We really would like to purchase our company, but the operations in xyz create a real problem for us." Next thing you know, there aren't any operations in xyz.

            Yes im sure MS were so concerned about protecting that great image they have in the eyes of Asterisk users that they paid way over market price just to protect it.

            I think you've misconstrued the quote you've replied to. Dropping Asterisk support post-acquisition might very well have an effect outside the intended market for Asterisk integration. Much of the Mac userbase for Skype is already up in arms over the Skype 5.0 interface, and fear that MS might drop Skype's support for platforms that MS does not control is broadly based.

            However, protecting Skype's reputation with Asterisk users (or Mac users, for that matter) might be the reason for insisting this be done be

      • by X0563511 (793323)

        Er, why would that have anything to do with costs?

      • by KDR_11k (778916)

        Asterisk competes with Microsoft's Lync. Most likely they're planning on making Skype only compatible with Lync to add another piece to their web of vendor lock-in.

  • Looks like Microsoft went ahead and skipped steps 1 and 2 this time just to make things easier for everybody.
  • by halsneb (2195802) on Tuesday May 24, 2011 @05:19PM (#36232660)
    The Microsoft/Skype deal is nowhere near completion, and Microsoft currently has no say in how Skype runs their business. Also the negotiations on this software were most likely ongoing long before the Microsoft/Skype merger was announced, and most likely a business decisions based on profit margins and longevity. I can't help but wonder why people are so quick to blame Microsoft for issues that they could not possible be responsible for.
    • by chemosh6969 (632048) on Tuesday May 24, 2011 @05:32PM (#36232806)
      It's always easy to blame Microsoft for something, whether or not they have anything to do with it. Same with opposing political parties :)
    • Because it's Slashdot, and they're Microsoft. Duh. You're right of course. At this point not even sucking up to the potential new boss by killing some program he probably won't like doesn't even make sense. There are enough regulatory and other hurdles between here and "Microsoft takes possession of Skype" that doing any kind of actions based on that assumption is silly.

    • Re: (Score:2, Troll)

      by steelfood (895457)

      Considering the timing of the announcement, and Microsoft's business practices in the past, I imagine there's plenty of reasons to suspect Microsoft's hand in the matter.

    • "Microsoft currently has no say in how Skype runs their business"

      You really think the purchasing company has no influence over the company they're buying? They can make specific upcoming business decisions paramount to buy out! You have no idea whether or not Microsoft had something to do with this decision. I can't help but wonder why you think you do.
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Actually, while the deal is pending, Microsoft is legally prohibited from exerting influence over Skype. Until the deal goes through, Microsoft has less influence over Skype than they had before the deal.

        You don't mess with the SEC.

        • by Wonko the Sane (25252) * on Tuesday May 24, 2011 @06:22PM (#36233346) Journal

          You don't mess with the SEC.

          You and I don't mess with the SEC. Large financial institutions and significant corporate donors to political campaigns do whatever the fuck they want.

          • by BitZtream (692029)

            I hate the fact that you made this post.

            I hate it because ... its true, and thats where we are.

            I really wish we (the entire world, its not unique to the US) we just a LITTLE less selfish on the extreme ends. A little selfishness is a good thing for the species, competition helps, but we really just need to nop off the top few percent of the greediest that cause this sort of problem.

        • by aeoo (568706)

          You don't mess with the SEC.

          LOL

    • by adolf (21054)

      Really? Microsoft has no say at all?

      You act as if you've never seen someone sell something expensive before. The buyer usually has quite a bit of say in how things play out...

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 24, 2011 @05:23PM (#36232700)

    I guess both of you will have to run windows now.

    • by JamesP (688957) on Tuesday May 24, 2011 @06:19PM (#36233322)

      Well, I dunno, I know a lot of people that use asterisk.

      I mean, it's on everybody's keyboard, see -> *

    • For real? Asterisk is extremely pervasive from what I've seen. The only place it's NOT pervasive is among hobbyists who a) have no need for a PBX type system and b) have no idea how to get it to interface with anything interesting.

      Hint: google voice uses asterisk.

      • by mjwx (966435)

        For real? Asterisk is extremely pervasive from what I've seen. The only place it's NOT pervasive is among hobbyists who a) have no need for a PBX type system and b) have no idea how to get it to interface with anything interesting.

        Hint: google voice uses asterisk.

        Asterisk is often used as a replacement for expensive vendor PABX's in small businesses that can afford a full time sysadmin. When 20 user key systems can cost upwards of $7K with no support, free* seems cheap.

        There's even a drop in replacement with a usable GUI for people with little knowledge of Linux/CLI (Asterisk Now IIRC).

        * free isn't free, but a sysadmin's time is cheaper then a Siemens consultant.

    • by BitterOak (537666)

      I guess both of you will have to run windows now.

      Actually, Asterisk does [asteriskwin32.com] run on windows, very nicely thank you.

  • This is bull (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward
    This has nothing to do with Microsoft, that is just troll bait. The deal isn't completed yet, they are awaiting regulatory approval before going through with it, and that is likely months away. This is Skype running as Skype, completely independent from Microsoft. Any interference at this stage and scrutiny would be an infraction even Microsoft wouldn't risk.
    • Plausibility (Score:2, Informative)

      by sjbe (173966)

      This is Skype running as Skype, completely independent from Microsoft.

      Unless you work for one of those two companies you cannot possibly know that.

      Any interference at this stage and scrutiny would be an infraction even Microsoft wouldn't risk.

      Having been involved myself with a few mergers and the negotiations thereof I can definitely say that it is definitely plausible that Microsoft would have requested killing the product. I have no idea if they actually did and no proof either but it is certainly possible and wouldn't be terribly surprising. Such conditions can be explicit parts of the deal or they can be simple verbal requests. It's not at all unusual for compani

  • SIP still seems alive and well [skype.com] though. They get a monthly revenue stream from that though; seems a slightly safer option for Skype users wanting interoperability.

  • by Kalriath (849904) on Tuesday May 24, 2011 @05:39PM (#36232898)

    Considering just how much existing VoIP crap (including Microsoft's) runs over SIP, has anyone considered that it's possible that Skype simply decided to kill off the third party hack and focus on building native SIP connectivity? It would certainly jibe with their sudden desire to look more appealing to business users, with the ability to plug into virtually any IP-PBX solution in existence (and let's be honest, in the corporate world no-one runs Asterisk).

    Funny, if Google had bought Skype and this same thing had happened, people would all be describing it as I just did. But hey, don't let rational thought get in the way of your hate-fest.

    • Convicted habitual criminals are rarely popular.

    • by msobkow (48369)

      with the ability to plug into virtually any IP-PBX solution in existence

      Clearly you've never actually tried to integrate SIP stacks. The hurdles, workarounds, configuration, and general nightmare still end up unworkable far too often. SIP is very flexible -- which means it's not necessarily compatible.

    • I'm not sure where you get your info from, but asterisk is extremely pervasive, either as a complete replacement for phone systems (small business) to OEM'd interfaces (too many to count) to partial replacements for portions of existing calling systems (a similar way to how Linux crept into IT infrastructure). Hell, tons of those offshore call centers are based around asterisk and its queue features.

    • by Corydon76 (46817)

      Skype for Asterisk is far from a third party hack. It was designed around the Skype Engine API, at a time when Skype was not providing access to that API to the general public (I think they still aren't providing that level of access). In fact, Skype approached Mark Spencer (original programmer of Asterisk), not the other way around. So while the integration was largely written by Digium programmers, the Skype connector has always been a direct project of Skype's.

      As far as Google's communication protocol

  • by ZamesC (611197) on Tuesday May 24, 2011 @05:39PM (#36232900)
    how refusing NEW activations is screwing over EXISTING customers?
  • Would you be happy with being forced to buy "GM only petrol" for your GM car? Be forced to have a Channel XYZ TV to watch Channel XYZ? Only be able to buy a memory stick for your Sony?
    • by tepples (727027)
      Yet video gamers eat it up. You have to have a Nintendo console to play Nintendo games and vice versa.
  • We got screwed at work after bought Onfolio. First, they discontinued the pro version we bought and were using in Firefox in favor of a free dumbed down IE only version, then they eventually killed that. Wouldn't mind too much, but they also turned off the activation servers, meaning if we have to reinstall Windows due to, say, a virus, we can't reinstall the copy Onfolio we had bought. I guess we hit the "Extinguish" stage of the business plan.
    • Take an image of the machine and create a VM. Then create lots of copies. Now you are as good as immune to any but the worst disaster.

  • im a web developer, and i have been contacting with my clients through skype when they chose it. now, i will be moving out of skype and to other instant messenger / voip applications. i have numerous clients, and will probably have a lot of clients into the future at this rate, and i have the clout and goodwill to require them to contact me without skype.

    im doing this, to prevent experiencing usual microsoft bullshit like one regularly encounters while dealing with them.

    enjoy your new acquisition micr
    • by Skadet (528657)

      enjoy your new acquisition microsoft. without me and my clients.

      Yes, they're really going to miss your $30/year... assuming you even buy that.

    • by BitZtream (692029)

      Its hard to think there are 'web developers' still that don't realize how easily they can be replaced.

      Its funny that you think you're so special you can tell your customers what they have to do. Well, I suppose you can tell them what to do right up until they are no longer customers.

      Good luck with that.

  • Seriously, some people need to realise that microsoft is a BUSINESS. Asterisk = compete with Lync. Skype = now microsoft owned. Why the hell would they continue development of one of their products to help kill another one of their products?

    Is this crap for asterisk / asterisk users? Yes. However Microsoft would have a hell of a lot of explaining to do to their shareholders if they were to continue killing the market for their own product(s) by enabling/maintaining it.

  • The deal isn't even close to completion yet, so why again am I supposed to read Skype as Microsoft when they are making moves like this?

    This has to be some of the most apparent anti-Microsoft slant I've ever seen on Slashdot to date, and I've seen quite a bit of it. Please don't troll in the summary.

  • What about Obelix, did he want Skype dead aswell?

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