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Microsoft To Can Skype API; Third-Party Products Will Not Work 330

Posted by timothy
from the message-loud-and-clear dept.
Mark Gibbs writes "If you've recently fired up Skype you may have noticed a dialog box with a warning appear briefly (at least on OS X) then vanish. If you're fast enough to catch it you'll find that it's warning you that some application you're using that works with Skype will stop working in December, 2013. This applies to all sorts of software supporting headsets, cameras, ... you name it."
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Microsoft To Can Skype API; Third-Party Products Will Not Work

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  • by Gothmolly (148874) on Friday November 01, 2013 @08:05PM (#45307093)

    Cue sad trombone sound for people who are outraged that MS would take Skype and change it.

      • The meta tag keywords on that page: funny, humor, wah, whomp, waah, waaah, waaaah, sound, office, cubicle, break, joke, bad joke, toy, usb, sound effect, fail, failure, disappointment, lame, you suck, suckage, yahhh trick, sad, trombone.

        brb, need a fresh coffee
    • by perpenso (1613749) on Friday November 01, 2013 @08:17PM (#45307193)
      What will we do ? Its not like a few developers can get together and create a voice-over-IP service themselves. Oh ... wait a minute.
      • Re:What will we do ? (Score:5, Interesting)

        by gstoddart (321705) on Friday November 01, 2013 @08:42PM (#45307433) Homepage

        What will we do ? Its not like a few developers can get together and create a voice-over-IP service themselves. Oh ... wait a minute.

        Right up until find yourself fighting a patent infringement lawsuit, I fear.

        You really think Microsoft (and Skype before them) didn't make damned sure their patents were filed and recorded for this stuff? Or that they wouldn't be so over-broad as to encompass the entire concept?

        I'm not so sure.

        • by Anonymous Coward on Friday November 01, 2013 @08:55PM (#45307541)

          We had such software back in late 90s as well during icq days, so makes no sense that they can sue you over something that has been around long before skype.

          • by binarylarry (1338699) on Friday November 01, 2013 @08:56PM (#45307555)

            uh oh!

          • Re:What will we do ? (Score:4, Informative)

            by whoever57 (658626) on Friday November 01, 2013 @10:15PM (#45308153) Journal

            We had such software back in late 90s as well during icq days, so makes no sense that they can sue you over something that has been around long before skype.

            Since when did the law (and especially patent law) have any connection to "sense"?

          • by ackthpt (218170)

            We had such software back in late 90s as well during icq days, so makes no sense that they can sue you over something that has been around long before skype.

            Do it open source and free (as in beer) and they have nobody and nothing to sue.

    • Personally I think a big fat NO [nooooooooooooooo.com] felt more appropriate.

    • by mysidia (191772)

      Cue sad trombone sound for people who are outraged that MS would take Skype and change it.

      Steve: I am altering the deal, pray I don't alter it any further.

  • by ZorinLynx (31751) on Friday November 01, 2013 @08:06PM (#45307095) Homepage

    Who still uses Skype? There are better alternatives now, and a lot more open, too.

    Seems Microsoft is shooting themselves in the foot... again. They're really good at this. Ya think they have special guns specifically designed to shoot downwards into feet? Weighted so that you can comfortably hold them as you fire? With special scopes to ensure you fire accurately and ammo custom-tailored for maximum damage to a foot-shapred target at close range?

    I wouldn't be surprised. :)

    • by ArbitraryName (3391191) on Friday November 01, 2013 @08:12PM (#45307145)
      Everyone uses Skype. Every other product in the field is a niche compared to Skype. Everyone knows the brand "Skype" and what it does. It's ubiquitous enough to be mentioned in print newspaper comics, which are basically only read by old people at this point. This is a common trap people in technology fall into. They feel like everyone must know about all these other options because they do. Skype is almost a household word at this point. Grandparents totter into Best Buy and ask the kid working there what they need to Skype with their granddaughter. That's my personal litmus test, when old people start asking for a technology.
      • by icebike (68054) on Friday November 01, 2013 @08:21PM (#45307221)

        Third world countries use skype.
        Everybody else has an IPhone or Android that will let you voice chat or video chat anywhere in the world for nothing.

        Skype is a household word as is Kleenex, and people want to get rid of both as soon as they have used it.

        Skype is backdoored [randombit.net] and nobody but love struck teenagers use it any more.

        • by postbigbang (761081) on Friday November 01, 2013 @08:51PM (#45307501)

          Just about everything you communicate with that runs on wires or electrical waves is backdoored.

          But many more people than lovestruck teens use Skype. Closing up the API was inevitable. Pay4Play is called ecosystem, and ecosystem is revenue, and revenue is shareholder return on investment.

          As Microsoft is a for-profit corporation, they will behave like one.

        • by Skiron (735617)
          Skype is a household word as is Kleenex, and people want to get rid of both as soon as they have used it.
          You got that wrong. I don't know anyone that uses 'skype', nor anyone that talks about it. But I do know that people hoover, and use andrex to wipe their arse. Maybe MS think doing dirty and shitty work makes the name stick.
          • You need to hang out with non-basement-living-nerds more. It's being used all over the place in general populace. First few times, before I got a translation, I went "huh?" After enlightenment it became "are you out of your mind?" That was several years back when Skype ran solo.
        • by joelleo (900926) on Friday November 01, 2013 @10:21PM (#45308189)

          Well, the article linked asks the question of whether or not it is backdoored based upon a test that proved SOMETHING was leaking:

          Now are they just hoovering up the skype IMs via the new microsoft central server architecture having back doored skype client to no longer have end2end encrption (and feedind them through echelon or whatever) or is this the client that is reading your IMs and sending selected things to the mothership.

          I'd be curious to see if there's a query against a phone number sent via skype, vs a url. That would back up the claim of a backdoor much more solidly than the work that has already been done. It would be harder to verify, though.

        • by gl4ss (559668) on Saturday November 02, 2013 @12:27AM (#45308893) Homepage Journal

          "n IPhone or Android that will let you voice chat or video chat anywhere in the world for nothing."

          yeah.. by using Skype.

          pretty much everyone - if your'e talking about "normal people" - in the first world too use skype if they have to voice chat over to another country.

          what do people have in their business email sigs nowadays? their name, email, phone number and skype name.

          "nobody uses it trolololo" is as fucking stupid as saying that nobody uses windows anymore.

          • by Trogre (513942)

            "nobody uses it trolololo" is as fucking stupid as saying that nobody uses windows anymore.

            Well to be fair Microsoft is working on that, too.

      • by v1 (525388)

        I'd agree with that. "skype" is becoming a verb at this point. "I'll skype you when I get home".

        Too bad to see MS is gonna kill backward compatibility with hardware. I know a LOT of people still using skype vers 2 because of all the crap that happened to it recently. MS sure loves to increment product version numbers. Oooo look we moved the Close button, bump the version!

        • by dbIII (701233)
          That is annoying, skype on the Nokia N900, which would have to be based on an old version, appears to always work while various versions on PCs have needed a bit of mucking about.
      • by roc97007 (608802) on Friday November 01, 2013 @08:23PM (#45307245) Journal

        > Everyone uses Skype. Every other product in the field is a niche compared to Skype.

        I think you're right. And everyone (especially old people) at one point thought AOL was The Internet.

        That's not a totally fair comparison because at one time Skype was, you know, good. But you know as well as I that this move by Microsoft will have the direct result of making alternatives more interesting, and a name will eventually replace Skype in our lexicon, just like certain names replaced Internet Explorer. (Nothing specific replaced AOL in our mindshare because everyone realized that a generic broadband connection gave them everything AOL had to offer and more, included with the price of the connection.)

      • by Dunbal (464142) * on Friday November 01, 2013 @08:25PM (#45307263)
        A brand name isn't worth anything anymore when you've killed the brand.
        • by Dynedain (141758) <slashdot2NO@SPAManthonymclin.com> on Friday November 01, 2013 @09:22PM (#45307791) Homepage

          A brand name isn't worth anything anymore when you've killed the brand.

          Except to a lot of people, they don't realize it's a brand. To the non-tech savvy, there's no difference between a branded service (like Skype or Twitter) vs. an open service (like email). Notice the GP mentioned old people going into Best Buy and asking for the tools to "Skype" not the tools to "video chat on the web".

          All they know is that there's some kind of thing you can do on computers, and they want to make sure they can do that thing with the people on the other end that are important to them. They don't know (or care about) the difference between a proprietary toolchain vs. an open one.

      • by Yomers (863527)
        Exactly. My 87 years old granddad use skype. Skype is the single non-opensource piece of software I have installed on my laptom, BTW all bunch of 32-bit compatibility libs are installed on my system only because of skype. I hate it, but there are no workarounds, I need it.

        I hope something will force Microsoft to open Skype protocol.
      • I will probably switch to Google Hangouts and SIP.

        • SIP is a bigger cock up than Skype. Good luck.

          Never understand the need to blow wads of personal time (==money) on setting up and configuring monstrous kludges just get around a piece of software that a) just works, b) handles all the necessary functionality, and c) has no justifiable drawbacks for the usage scenario. And no, just because the NSA has a timestamp and contact name for every Skype call you make, it does not break (c) unless you are doing something wrong. It's just some scrap of metadata in
          • by smash (1351)
            SIP is not really something end users should be dealing with directly. For what it is intended to do, it works just fine.
      • by Impy the Impiuos Imp (442658) on Friday November 01, 2013 @09:16PM (#45307725) Journal

        > Everyone uses Skype.

        Microsoft's working on that!

        • by mysidia (191772)

          Microsoft's working on that!

          And since Skype is pretty much the last major have-to-have content provider that doesn't work for IPv6-only users... all the better.

      • newspaper comics, which are basically only read by old people at this point

        That's because young people don't seem to have the attention span to read through a three panel strip any more. That's why I'm keeping this post short. Dammit... too long. Lost them.

    • by murdocj (543661)

      Who doesn't use Skype?

      It's free, easy to use, ubiquitous... only problem is if you are worried that "the cool kids" aren't using it.

      • by epyT-R (613989) on Friday November 01, 2013 @08:26PM (#45307277)

        It's also thoroughly backdoor'd, feature paywalled, and has shitty audio, even in 'hd' mode... It's also got a shitty GUI and ads.

        Jitsi, despite its being written written in java, is a better deal. It's crypted, supports virtually every useful codec and does not require third party servers. Of course, you can use it with third parties if desired. Because of this, it can be configured to offer much better audio quality, which is a major issue with these things it seems. All people care about is the video I guess.

        • by Lord Crc (151920)

          Jitsi, despite its being written written in java, is a better deal.

          Does it support calling landlines across the globe? That's the primary use I and my family have for Skype. I couldn't find anything immediate on the Jitsi page.

          • Doesn't your operator support SIP? There are all sorts of people offering SIP services around the globe and many of them support calling landlines...

          • by dalias (1978986) on Friday November 01, 2013 @08:45PM (#45307453)
            If you use skype for calling telephones, you're getting ripped off horribly. Their rates are 3 to 10 times higher than good VoIP providers (personally, I recommend Diamondcard or Callcentric which both have good rates and service quality, but you can get even cheaper if you look around for lower-quality VoIP carriers), especially once you figure in the "connection fee" they added which often gets applied even when you call doesn't really go through. It's not as bad if you have a monthly plan (which waives the connection fees and has unlimited calling to selected countries) but unless your usage is really high you can still get better prices paying per-minute with other carriers (and, for some countries, you can even get cheaper unlimited plans with other carriers).
          • by epyT-R (613989)

            No, it doesn't. I suppose your family could install jitsi on their machines.. It depends I guess..

      • by Darinbob (1142669)

        Why use it? I have a phone.
        "Hey mom, get off the phone and get onto your dialup internet so you can hear a poor imitation of me using a phone."

    • by Dunbal (464142) *
      Plus skype used to be cheap, it's now very expensive - more expensive than my telco. Fuck skype.
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        I pay like $36 a year for unlimited calls in the US. I have my own incoming number and I can call any phone in the US. That is not a bad deal at all!

        I use it both in my home and my business. My telco demands $18/mo long distance to call my clients right across the state line which is like 5 miles from my home Skype is a great tool! Nobody even knows we are on skype.

        My concern is I have a skype to phone adapter. I would eagerly embrace a change in the API if stand alone devices like some of the other VoIP

      • by FirstOne (193462) on Friday November 01, 2013 @08:59PM (#45307593) Homepage

        Agreed, I'm using up the last of my SKYPE balance, still use it for calling 800 numbers(which are still free), but that's about it.

        Just got Google chat to phone via gmail working, which took some doing to get around the browser id check. Now, I can call phones in the USA for free, while skype charges $0.049 to connect and $0.023/min.

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by JoeMerchant (803320)

          Cue the tiny violin.

          Through my teen years, long distance voice cost roughly $20/hour for anything that wasn't a local call - and much more for international.

          Also remember that those were 20 real dollars, when a good new car could be had for less than $10K, gas was (shockingly expensive at) about $1.20 a gallon, and minimum wage was $3.35/hour. Let's not even talk about real-estate...

    • Pretty much everyone uses Skype. I don't know anyone that uses anything else.

      Well, there's one neckbeard around here who still has a SpeakFreely server, but that's about it.

      The only 'alternatives' I know that get any use are TeamSpeak and similar services that people playing MMOs use. And even there, a lot of them have switched to Skype.

    • by nurb432 (527695)

      Its becoming tightly integrated with their other enterprise communication offerings. So *tons* of people will use it. Many wont even know it.

      They don't want their internal stuff being used by others. I don't see a problem really.

    • by vux984 (928602) on Friday November 01, 2013 @08:41PM (#45307427)

      Who still uses Skype? There are better alternatives now, and a lot more open, too.

      Like what? I dislike skype and want to stop using it, and for the usage I do have, I -can- get the other people to switch.

      However, switch to what is the question?

      I need something that works x-platform: mac, pc, android, ios, and windows phone 8). Linux would be a bonus for me, but not a requirement. At least we don't need BB support.

      It needs to do voice, group voice (at Least 5-6 people), IM chat, and group IM chat (unlimited people), and have contacts. Voice quality needs to be good, low latency, no echo, no breathing, no push-to-talk.

      I'd like it to be open, but at the very least it HAS to be less privacy invasive than Skype. I'm not ditching skype for Google+ Hangouts or Facebook Messenger or something like that.

      I'm actively looking for solutions but the VOIP stuff tends to be poor at the IM chat side, and everything else seems to suck at the voice or being cross platform enough.

      • Have you tried Nimbuzz, it's European. It supported, ICQ, MSN, Skype, Facebook, GTALK(Jabber), IRC, (Love to see SIP support) and offered outgoing calls. It was pretty amazing, then the other players attacked it.

        Still good, works Windows, Linux, and is available for Android (probably iPhone). Hope it works out for everyone.

        It's sadly not open source ATMM.
      • by epyT-R (613989) on Friday November 01, 2013 @09:25PM (#45307819)

        Well jitsi does voice in a variety of protocols, video (up to 720p) via h263 or h264, conference audio/video/im, and can work p2p/SIP, infrastructure SIP, or piggyback onto a variety of IM services. I don't know about android et al, but I imagine SIP clients for those platforms would work. It has no artificial limits on numbers of participants in conference calls.. It also crypts all communications with ZRTP. My only gripe with it is that the client GUI is written in java.

        Honestly, audio quality is my primary pet peeve of skype. Whatever codec they use clobbers consonant sounds, even in 'hd' calls.. In contrast, I've gotten some nice high quality voice calls with jitsi.

        • by vux984 (928602)

          but I imagine SIP clients for those platforms would work

          Then I need an SIP client that does contact management, online/offline/away status, im, group im, voice, and group voice in an integrated manner for each platform. If I'm on Jitsi in a group IM with 4 people what protocol is that going to be? XMPP/Jabber? Ok... and then if we decide to take it to voice? Any or all of the 4 of us could be at a desktop or on a tablet or smartphone -- so is there an xmpp/jabber client for each platform i listed that also

      • by omtinez (3343547)
        Try Lync :)
      • by pitchpipe (708843) on Friday November 01, 2013 @09:43PM (#45307957)

        However, switch to what is the question?

        I like OAKSTAR [wikipedia.org].

        I need something that works x-platform: mac, pc, android, ios, and windows phone 8). Linux would be a bonus for me, but not a requirement. At least we don't need BB support.

        I'm pretty sure that it even supports BBs!

        It needs to do voice, group voice (at Least 5-6 people), IM chat, and group IM chat (unlimited people), and have contacts. Voice quality needs to be good, low latency, no echo, no breathing, no push-to-talk.

        Oh, it'll do all that alright, plus a whole lot more!

        I'd like it to be open, but at the very least it HAS to be less privacy invasive than Skype. I'm not ditching skype for Google+ Hangouts or Facebook Messenger or something like that.

        As far as open, it's not exactly secret anymore, but it's definitely less privacy invasive than Google+, etc. because those companies won't be able to get their hands on that data.

      • by rdnetto (955205)

        I'd like it to be open, but at the very least it HAS to be less privacy invasive than Skype. I'm not ditching skype for Google+ Hangouts or Facebook Messenger or something like that.

        Honestly, I'd say Skype and Google Hangouts are equally invasive. In both cases, your conversation goes through $BIG_CORP's servers and gets data mined. That said, I would trust Google over Microsoft or Facebook - the latter will happily sell my data to other companies, but it's worth more to Google to keep it to themselves.

        On a more practical note, I've found Google Hangouts to be the easiest to get working cross platform, and it has better audio/video quality than Skype too. I actually tried using XMPP/Ji

        • by vux984 (928602)

          I disagree. Google and Facebook are advertising networks first and foremost. Microsoft is a software vendor first and foremost -- yes they datamine, but its not yet their core business model, and if you move to their paid options you have the option to self host your own servers, and they're happy to have you as a customer that just pays them for software licenses.

          Google and Facebook abhor the idea that you might have some control over your own data.

          I prefer Microsoft out of that list.

          I've found Google Han

    • by MtHuurne (602934)

      Please tell me those alternatives, because I've been looking for them and couldn't find them.

      I need something that has decent sound quality and echo cancellation, can easily traverse NAT and runs on Windows, Linux and Mac OS X.

    • Who still uses Skype? There are better alternatives now, and a lot more open, too.

      Although I know of a few (Dolby Axon is the only name that comes to mind at the moment) - it really twerks me when people say stuff like this ^^^ without any specifics to back up the statement.

  • Microsoft started excelling at this lately. The amount of popcorn needed will actually bring about a new boost in agriculture.
  • I recently got a new Lenovo Android tablet with Jellybean. I installed Skype from Google Play. Google said it was compatable. When I run it I don't have an option to video chat, even though the tablet does have a working front facing camera. At some points I see a camera icon that is marked as disabled, but it can't be enabled. I can try to do a test audio call to the Skype test number, the app shows that I'm connected and a timer starts counting, but I get back no audio. There is no way to know if my audio

    • by roc97007 (608802)

      I think you're right. Does this mean that Microsoft is trying to force people into Windows tablets by dangling Skype in front of them? Isn't that a little like saying "you must use Windows, we're the only people who have IE", back when, completely ignoring the fact that they've just supercharged the alternative browser market?

  • by jcr (53032) <jcr&mac,com> on Friday November 01, 2013 @08:15PM (#45307163) Journal

    There's a reason why Skype caught on in the first place, and Microsoft has just pissed it away. I look forward to using whatever competitors emerge with secure, encrypted VOIP products.

    -jcr

    • by ArhcAngel (247594)

      There's a reason why Skype caught on in the first place, and Microsoft has just pissed it away. I look forward to using whatever competitors emerge with secure, encrypted VOIP products.

      -jcr

      Like BBM? [blackberry.com]
      The Android and iOS clients don't have the VOIP or Video yet but should get them in the next update.

    • by Dunbal (464142) *
      I'm sure letting the NSA listen in on all those phone calls garnered them a lot of good will. That alone has value for a company as large and as borderline (as in, on the wrong side of the border) anti-trust as Microsoft.
  • ok that's it then (Score:2, Insightful)

    by roc97007 (608802)

    Skype is dead. Start looking for alternatives.

    • Tell that to my contacts. They've all ditched AIM for Skype over the last 3 years, and like hell I'm giving up Trillian/Pidgin to get locked into a single program and a single network. The bad old days of walled networks were supposed to have ended 10 years ago.

  • by substance2003 (665358) on Friday November 01, 2013 @08:30PM (#45307307)
    Okay. So I get they are cutting support to many webcams and headsets on the desktop and competing platforms like OS X as stated in the article and from Android based on the comments posted here.

    Crazy theory here. Could they be trying to focus Skype for use with their Windows Phone to try to give people a compelling reason to switch over to their mobile OS?

    Thoughts?
    • Crazy theory here. Could they be trying to focus Skype for use with their Windows Phone to try to give people a compelling reason to switch over to their mobile OS?

      Sure looks like it. And it will probably work just as well as google killing off all of their services that remotely compete with g+.

    • by nurb432 (527695)

      Office Communicator.

  • Stallman is right (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Required Snark (1702878) on Friday November 01, 2013 @08:46PM (#45307465)
    Any proprietary software is potentially a trap. You get to use it as long as the owners let you, and they can change their mind at any time.

    I know it's fashionable to knock Stallman here on Slashdot (including personal attacks about how he dresses), but he has been consistently right over a long period of time about the pitfalls of closed source.

    In this case MS is clearly locking out 3rd party apps, and no one really knows why.

    It's not just MS. Google does the same thing. Someone pointed out that the typically lifetime of most free Google apps is 4 years. Even when there the apps are not discontinued, the terms of service are often changed. Look at original Gmail vs. Gmail+. Many people, including myself, would not have become dependent on Gmail if they had known what would happen to it.

    So when Stallman is being critical, pay attention. He's likely to be right.

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      3rd party tools to use skype but add encryption...

      Like pidgin's "Off the record" or the even better one-time-pad version "Pidgin-paranoia"

      The whole point of forcing people to use skype clients is to make sure they all use the backdoored code. Then they said, well you have to use our client, but we'll let your client use scripting to work with ours....

      So we implemented encryption in our 3rd party clients, and now they just wont have any of that.

    • by BitZtream (692029)

      Look at original Gmail vs. Gmail+. Many people, including myself, would not have become dependent on Gmail if they had known what would happen to it.

      Uhm, enable IMAP if you haven't already and move your mail to a new provider, forward the email to that provider.

      Its not hard, what exactly are you whining about? That they didn't stay the same until they become irrelevant and then shutdown cause I'm pretty sure you'd bitch about that as well. If you wanted a static non-changing client, you were pretty stupid for using webmail in the first place.

  • Really, I am GLAD that Microsoft makes problems for a Skype community. Reason is that Skype is as compromised as any other existing VoIP protocol now, and in post-Snowden era it became crystal clear.

    I don't worry about crypto phone per se. With modern crypto protocols creation of a VoIP utility that encrypts the conversation is trivial. Problem is a collection of metadata by 3-letter agencies about the calls which leads to discovery of your contacts and torturing your secrets out of them. You name it "rubbe

  • Facetime (Score:5, Interesting)

    by wjcofkc (964165) on Friday November 01, 2013 @10:03PM (#45308097)
    Perhaps Apple will grow some wisdom and open up FaceTime in response as they promised to years ago.

    I'm not sure if this is score nothing, score funny, or score insightful. Apple to save the day?
  • First google shuts down talk by killing the desktop client and closing the protocol.

    Now MS kills skype.

    What's next?
  • Embrace Skype.
    Extend Skype encryption such that they can MITM it for the Feds and such that 3rd party API breaks.
    If you have not already done so, stop using that product now, the final chapter is:
    Extinguish Skype.

  • If I had the resources, I'd immediately launch a competitive, cross-platform VOIP/video service that plays nice and clean up by poaching Skype customers. It would take a massive, worldwide marketing campaign and lotsa servers and bandwidth, but the market is hungry for a competitor and this is a great catalyst for one.

  • by beachdog (690633) on Saturday November 02, 2013 @01:02AM (#45309059) Journal

    As previous posters have mentioned, if you open a web browser page to your Gmail account, there is a telephone option. If you have a suitable headset and microphone you can type in a landline phone number. In the USA, calls are free to USA locations.

    I use the Gmail phone for every possible call I can make from my desk because local toll and long distance calls are charged on a per-minute basis. The deep advantage of all the internet communication methods is the connection is per packet, not per minute.

    I played with the Asterisk scriptable phone and communications engine (also known as a PBX or private branch exchange). I was looking for a fast local and free communications solution for facilitating just-in-time ride sharing. There are little fragments of the solution scattered around.

    At the risk of being a little impolite: Except for amateur radio (which is very circumscribed in its usage), the American communications game consists of continually figuring out more and more mutually incompatible and progressively more expensive ways of selling tiny dribbles of two way communication bandwidth for progressively higher and higher prices.

    It seems to me that a series of communication solutions could exist. The key is to change the terms of sale of cell phone bandwidth. Present policy, I guess, sells a radio band x geographic area x population to the highest bidder. What the people would benefit from is selling the reciprocal of that relationship: The federal price would go down as the total bytes transmitted increases. The user charge would be an asymptote like function that as usage increases the price approaches the basic cost: (cost is like: price of transmitter electricity + amortized cost of transmitter + monthly fiber optic access + profit) divided by count of users. Dollar sums point to a cell site: $20,000 per month, 5,000 users; $5 per month each.

      At present, jaw dropping sums of money have to be bid by huge organizations of national scope to get a communication franchise. With this fixed annual cost, franchise winners have to charge for every byte transmitted. The franchise winners have to charge a spectrum of prices that avoids the perception they are charging "all the market will bear". Remember all that linear programming you studied in college? The bandwidth is chopped into a blather of services that obscure the basic price per byte. How much does Tracfone pay for a three minute call thorugh an ATandT cell tower? That manufacturing cost recovery reality in turn means no anonymous users and no free data transit. Unlike the land line phone, incoming calls are not free in the cellphone business.

  • WebRTC (Score:3, Informative)

    by diego.viola (1104521) on Saturday November 02, 2013 @04:21AM (#45309681)
    Anyone?

    I can't believe that most browsers now support it in all major OSs and mobile devices, but nobody is using it.

    WTF?

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