Microsoft Skype breaks open-source partnership

Microsoft Skype breaks open-source partnership

Summary: What a surprise! The pre-Microsoft purchase Skype will no longer let Digium include Skype functionality in its open-source Asterisk telephone services server.


I told you so. I knew that Steve Ballmer could talk all he wanted about how Microsoft would continue to support non-Microsoft platforms, but that there was no way he'd actually do it. The first proof is here. Digium, the company behind the popular open-source Asterisk private-branch exchange (PBX) program, has announced that Skype has unilaterally ended its deal that allowed Asterisk to work with Skype.

Digium's letter to its Asterisk users reads:

Skype for Asterisk will not be available for sale or activation after July 26, 2011.

Skype for Asterisk was developed by Digium in cooperation with Skype. It includes proprietary software from Skype that allows Asterisk to join the Skype network as a native client. Skype has decided not to renew the agreement that permits us to package this proprietary software. Therefore Skype for Asterisk sales and activations will cease on July 26, 2011.

This change should not affect any existing users of Skype for Asterisk. Representatives of Skype have assured us that they will continue to support and maintain the Skype for Asterisk software for a period of two years thereafter, as specified in the agreement with Digium. We expect that users of Skype for Asterisk will be able to continue using their Asterisk systems on the Skype network until at least July 26, 2013. Skype may extend this at their discretion.

Skype for Asterisk remains for sale and activation until July 26, 2011. Please complete any purchases and activations before that date.

It doesn't require a genius to see what the Microsoft and Skype are doing. This summer Microsoft will be launching the Microsoft-hosted version of its Lync unified-communications server, aka Lync Online. Asterisk is a direct competitor to the entire Lync line. Need I say more?

While Microsoft still hasn't explained how they're going to integrate Skype's rickety peer-to-peer (P2P) infrastructure with its server-based Lync server or its cloud-based Lync Online, it's on their to-do list. What isn't on MicroSkype's to do list is supporting non-Microsoft owned and controlled platforms.

Skype's Response:

Jennifer Caukin, a spokeswoman for Skype, has a different slant. Caukin said, "Skype made the decision to retire Skype for Asterisk several months ago, as we have prioritized our focus around implementing the IETF SIP [Session Initiation Protocol] standard in our Skype Connect solution. SIP enjoys the broadest support of any of the available signaling alternatives by business communications equipment vendors, including Digium.  By supporting SIP in favor of alternatives, we maximize our resources and continue to reinforce our commitment to delivering Skype on key platforms where we can meet the broadest customer demand.”

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How Microsoft, Skype, Nokia can rule: Cut out obscene data roaming rates abroad

Beyond Skype: VoIP Alternatives

How Skype does, and doesn't, work

Microsoft's Ballmer $7.7-Billion Skype Blunder

Topics: Microsoft, Browser, Collaboration, Open Source, Social Enterprise

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  • Skype acquisition will be a boat anchor.

    Everyone knows MS isn't interested in open source/open protocols. Historically, if it isn't theirs, they try to bastardize it and call it their own.

    SIP will prevail and 'flourish' along with Jabber/XMPP.
    Dietrich T. Schmitz, -*- Your Linux Advocate
    • RE: Microsoft Skype breaks open-source partnership

      @Dietrich T. Schmitz, -*- Your Linux Advocate
      I agree, micro skype will die or the DOJ will block this onerous deal!
      Linux Geek
      • Ha! One extreme or the middle ground exists!

        @Linux Geek
        Your comment is both loony and horribly thought out, if thought out at all.

        Your first notion, that "micro skype" will die, could only be true if its a useless acquisition. And if you were right about that it must truly be quite a useless acquisition if Microsoft cannot do anything with it, so useless it should actually be apparent right now if thats the case.

        Your second idea, that the DOJ will block this onerous deal, would only be true if Skpe was an extraordinarily powerful acquisition. So powerful that in fact your saying the DOJ would block it!

        Its mind boggling how opposite these two positions are. Its like saying your going to a specific country on vacation and its either going to be so cold you will have to wear a winter coat in doors, or it will be so hot that you can literally fry an egg on the sidewalk. And its impossible for it to be anything in between. Such an assertion makes no sense. Its not based on any kind of common sense and its dumb as toast.

        Its clear when one uses two complete opposite possibilities to explain how or why something will not work, all the while completely ignoring the fact that something in between the two polar opposites is far more likely, that suggesting two complete opposite possibilities is simply a desperate attempt to avoid the truth.
      • RE: Microsoft Skype breaks open-source partnership

        @Linux Geek
        I wouldn't be surprised if this causes Skype to die on the vine after Microsoft takes it over. Microsoft does not have a very good history of integrating other companies software packages due to buy out when they are mature products. I suspect that Skype is going to go the same way that ICQ did after their buy out. ICQ is a mere shadow of what it was, and I suspect that Skype will end up the same.
    • RE: Microsoft Skype breaks open-source partnership

      @Will Pharaoh

    • RE: Microsoft Skype breaks open-source partnership

      @Dietrich T. Schmitz, -*- Your Linux Advocate <br><br>Well, I hope you are right. <br><br>Microsoft payed for the large skype user base. The software is old school and easily replaceable. MS hopes that skype users are going to want to stick to their product, just like windows users. People hate breaking their habits and learning new stuff.<br>Then MS is going to break or seriously handicap skype on all other systems, in particular android, in order to lure people to buying windows phones. Add the next argument: MS office integration, outlook integration, ..... integration on your phone,... and I can see business users reaching out for MS phones.

      I hope they fail, but I wouldn't place any bets. This tactic has worked very well in the past and it may work in the future.<br><br>Google should really improve its services - google talk - and make them readily available outside the US. Otherwise, MS could seriously damage their android business.
      • RE: Microsoft Skype breaks open-source partnership


        good point
      • yes, M$ bought the brand name and customer base. the tech is common. and i


        can't stand being bought and sold like that.
        Cellular One became Alltel became Verizon.
        if i could have switched to Sprint i would have.
        i signed up for Goggle Talk many months ago.
        i finally got the account a few weeks ago.
        i'll try Google Talk and Fring and others.
        we'll see.

      • Great Points. Something that didn't immediately come to mind.

        @kikl .. I think you nailed it. I've had Gmail since it's inception and have 57,000 emails (mostly technical).

        I have it completely automated with hundreds of filters and labels, so my inbox stays relatively empty for the week, except for some personal emails that aren't immediately archived. Google call phone works great and is so easy to use within Gmail. I don't see why it would not take the place of Skype on smartphones if they allowed free calls outside the US.
      • RE: Microsoft Skype breaks open-source partnership

        Nice idea about Microsoft and their phones, there is only one problem, no one is buying Microsoft phones. The sales for Microsoft phones have been horrible. The other issue is that Microsoft phone will need more vertical market applications, mere integration with Exchange is not enough. Most if not all phones already have that feature. Microsoft has never done all that well with their phones and now Microsoft is trying to play catch up to iPhone and Android and it just isn't happening. Android is so much more open that a VAR or vertical market software company doesn't need approval of their app or to even put it in an app store. They can just sell it directly from their website. So I don't see how Microsoft is an advantage or how Microsoft plans to make their phones stand out and this is the problem they face now. Android is adding 100,000 device per day Google says and already has 10 million devices. I don't see how in the world Microsoft thinks they can unseat Android or iPhone. Personally I don't think it will ever happen just like Windows phones in the past. So if the main idea is link to their phones then it is and will be a failure for them. Corporations already are doing SIP apps on the iPhone and Android.
      • RE: Microsoft Skype breaks open-source partnership

        You are correct. That is Microsoft's plan. I had said the same, that Microsoft has paid for Skype's use rbase. Microsoft is spending big, with Nokia, Skype and others.
    • RE: Microsoft Skype breaks open-source partnership

      @Dietrich T. Schmitz
      Come on, you go out and buy something for $8 billion. Are you going to want someone to give it away for free? No one with anywhere new that many greenbacks would say yes.
      • RE: Microsoft Skype breaks open-source partnership

        @eric@... No, of course not. Microsoft is a commercial company. They make stuff to make money.<br><br>I think the point of this article wasn't to say that they shouldn't do "A", or even that anybody's surprised that they are doing "A", but that Microsoft shouldn't go around touting that they won't do "A"... and then turn around a couple weeks later and do "A" (particularly when everyone expected them to do "A" the first place).
    • RE: Microsoft Skype breaks open-source partnership

      @Dietrich T. Schmitz, -*- Your Linux Advocate

      This has less to do with MS as it does with other PBX protocols using Connect, which is not new.
      • RE: Microsoft Skype breaks open-source partnership

        @rekliss007 I really think it is just the start of things to come, next will be pulling skype apps off iphone and!
    • RE: Microsoft Skype breaks open-source partnership

      @Dietrich T. Schmitz, -*- Your Linux Advocate

      Yeah we're already working not to use Skype in the office anymore. We used to use it a fair amount to do free conference calling among us, especially for the days we had to work from home this winter.
      • RE: Microsoft Skype breaks open-source partnership

        @snoop0x7b Is there any good software w/ public protocol to migrate too?
    • RE: Microsoft Skype breaks open-source partnership


      I see you are by far a technical, but just an M$ user, "they actually make good software" what a joke. They are really good in making money, that is what they really know how to do it.
      • RE: Microsoft Skype breaks open-source partnership

        micro land bashes anything and everything that isn't MS. If people from MS went to his home and took his family, money, and everything else away from him, then beat him to a pulp, he'd say how great they were, and how apple and google, or Linux sucked and couldn't have done as good a job.
    • RE: Microsoft Skype breaks open-source partnership

      @Dietrich T. Schmitz, -*- Your Linux Advocate

      LOL. You took the words right out of my mouth. PPA for Skype in Linux has ?changed.? That?s how I knew Microsoft was definitely NOT going to allow open source ANYTHING. Bill Gates never really got over getting ripped off on the O/S for those build-it-yourself computer kits many years ago now. IBM tried it too, a couple years after that incident. So Microsoft became ?there?s no such thing as a free lunch? industry...