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Cellphones Communications

Fring Calls Skype 'Cowards'; Skype Responds 152

An anonymous reader writes "It seems that Skype and Fring are not getting along so well today. First, Fring made a claim that Skype was blocking Fring and in a subsequent blog post, called Skype 'cowards': 'Now that Fring expanded capacity to support the huge demand for video calling for all users, Skype has blocked us from doing so. They are afraid of open mobile communication. Cowards.' Skype has responded, stating that Fring's misuse of Skype software was damaging their brand and reputation: 'There is no truth to Fring's claims that Skype has blocked it. Fring made the decision to remove Skype functionality on its own.'
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Fring Calls Skype 'Cowards'; Skype Responds

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  • by santax ( 1541065 ) on Tuesday July 13, 2010 @02:31AM (#32884010)
    Well I tend to believe Skype on this one. About the not-blocking. I can even see why they want to protect their brand and especially continued service for their customers. As a Skype user I actually am happy they do so. Nah, no complaints about skype from me so far. Calling your the company whoms api's you have been using for years a coward is not done in my book btw. Just keep to the license and everything should be fine. Al least, that is my experience with Skype. Your mileage may vary though.
  • catch Fring's lie (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday July 13, 2010 @02:39AM (#32884040)

    +1 for Skype here. Just think about the cost of the servers (datacenter) doing the "video transcoding" between Skype and the mobile formats and see why it would be too expensive for a company like fring (with no revenue) to keep supporting Skype's video call. I think they must have realised that they would run out of money, and thus shut down Skype support, and tried to blame Skype for it.

  • And Fring is? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday July 13, 2010 @02:50AM (#32884104)
    I have no idea what Fring is, but I'll just read the summary which will surely define it.... no, well then, there must at least be a link to, of course not. I don't know what I was thinking.
  • Facetious? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Arancaytar ( 966377 ) <> on Tuesday July 13, 2010 @03:02AM (#32884144) Homepage

    "They deserved the block, and we didn't block them anyway" sounds like an odd denial.

    Mind you, I think Fring is going about it wrongly and nobody who seriously wants an open standard and a sensible platform should even glance at Skype. Work with XMPP or the Wave protocol or something.

  • by Another, completely ( 812244 ) on Tuesday July 13, 2010 @03:06AM (#32884154)

    Basically, sounds like the vanilla Skype client is not ready to adopt this technology on their iPhone apps, but Fring already has, using Skype's API. This makes Skype's devs look bad...

    It would also make the API look bad if this over-extends it (i.e. using it "in a way it wasn’t designed to be used" as Skype claims), resulting in reduced reliability. Skype is trying to build a reputation for being as reliable as the fixed telephone networks which, whatever else you might say about them, are pretty damn reliable. Something that usually works, but sometimes gets turned off without notice (like Skype claims happened last Friday) is not going to compete with the predictable (if boring and audio-only) plain-old-telephone-service.

  • To be frank (Score:1, Insightful)

    by glasnt ( 1171735 ) on Tuesday July 13, 2010 @03:14AM (#32884180)
    If it wasn't for this article, I wouldn't have a clue who this Fring mob are. If anything, I think they're trying to break Skype brand by spreading these stories about how the big guy is hurting the little dudes...
  • by JohnFluxx ( 413620 ) on Tuesday July 13, 2010 @03:30AM (#32884226)

    I believe Skype, but I don't side with them.

    Look at what skype said:

    "Fring was using Skype software in a way it wasn’t designed to be used – and in a way which is in breach of Skype’s API Terms of Use and End User License Agreement."

    Note that they don't say what, and given what other people have said here it would fit in perfectly that what is actually happening is:

    1) Skype are notoriously slow about adding new features to the official client
    2) Fring added the features themselves.
    3) Skype told Fring to stop adding features that they haven't added to the official client
    4) Fring did not want to remove the features that their users demanded and in frustration and to get attention they removed video support.
    5) Both sides feel that they are the victim.

    This seems to fit in with what the comments are saying. For example
    "People want to use Skype NOW!!!! Skype takes FOREVER to release updates for their iOS software!! You had a working demo of Skype on iOS 4.0 back when Apple first announced iOS 4.0 yet there STILL hasn't been a release months later. "
    "And the whole issue with charging for Skype Over 3G? I already pay you for a monthly subscription, now I will have to pay extra to use it on my iPhone over 3G? "

  • by santax ( 1541065 ) on Tuesday July 13, 2010 @03:34AM (#32884238)
    We can continue in Dutch, German or French if you want? English isn't my first language. Thanks for the education though. You forgot to actually reply on my comment btw.
  • Re:To be frank (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Totenglocke ( 1291680 ) on Tuesday July 13, 2010 @04:08AM (#32884394)

    Fring is a program that lets you connect to other chat clients (IM or video) - it's no different than the countless other multi-client chat programs out there except that this one also included Skype and you could do video calls from a phone to Skype. It's been around for quite awhile, yet it was never an issue until now, when Fring has more features than Skype for iPhone - then all of the sudden Skype bans them.

    Fring was the app that would make it easy for everyone to video chat, regardless of what client or hardware they were using. That's not possible now. Nice going, Skype assholes. Society suffers just because you can't accept that your programmers suck.

  • by NynexNinja ( 379583 ) on Tuesday July 13, 2010 @04:47AM (#32884582)

    Let that be a lesson to all, that those who base their business model around a third party are doomed to fail... In Fring's business plan, I'm sure one of the single points of failure is the fact that at any time, Skype can choose to put them out of business by adding one or two lines of iptables filter rules to their firewall.

    They should do what skype does, not attempt to piggy-back on skype. It doesn't work, because eventually your business will actually grow, and then what happens is skype becomes your competitor, rather than your friend. Once this happens, it becomes in their best interest to remove you from the equation.

  • by Trinn ( 523103 ) <> on Tuesday July 13, 2010 @06:44AM (#32885038)

    It is clear from the few posts on Fring's website that what they mean when they say Skype has blocked them is not that they implemented a technical measure to stop Fring from connecting but that they (likely through a C&D or something) threatened Fring that they would take legal action if they did not remove the functionality. So it is pretty clear that Skype did in fact block Fring, just through the legal system rather than by denying connectivity directly.

  • by shitzu ( 931108 ) on Tuesday July 13, 2010 @10:29AM (#32887036)

    The trouble with Skype is that the thing they are calling an "API" is not really an API to the Skype network. It is an interface to a running Skype process. That makes it quite hard for other networks to communicate with Skype network - the protocol is not open and there is no proper API.

    5 years ago, when Google announced Google Talk (which is based on open protocol Jabber/XMPP), Skype soiled its collective pants, and without much thought, promised a proper api which they called SkypeNET API - []
    That promise was never delivered. As time went by Skype saw that Google Talk was not gaining enough momentum and they silently dropped the plan.

    There is still no proper way to communicate with the Skype network - not even IM, much less voice or video. The way Fring and other such services do it, is by running a Skype process for every user and transferring data between that process and their own network, be it XMPP or something else.

    I call for Skype to open up its protocol or deliver a proper API. Imagine that you could not send e-mail to a user of a different network - how much less useful tool it would be. Or that you couldn't call people from another telephone network from your phone. This is unfortunately the situation with Skype - you can not IM or call people in other networks. In the long run the only viable option is to make communication networks interoperable - telephone, e-mail etc has taught us that. It is inevitably the only viable solution. Skype has damaged the progress towards that direction seriously.

...there can be no public or private virtue unless the foundation of action is the practice of truth. - George Jacob Holyoake