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Hand Wringing Over the Dell/SightSpeed Video Chat Deal

There's certainly no shortage of hand-wringing going on by the Skype Cheerleaders over at the supposedly "Independent" Skype Journal over the recent Dell Video Chat powered by SightSpeed deal. In two successive articles by different authors, they suggest just about every possible excuse except two:1.
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Written by J.A. Watson on

There's certainly no shortage of hand-wringing going on by the Skype Cheerleaders over at the supposedly "Independent" Skype Journal over the recent Dell Video Chat powered by SightSpeed deal. In two successive articles by different authors, they suggest just about every possible excuse except two:

1. The dog ate my homework

2. SightSpeed won on overall technical superiority, reliability and customer support.

It seems pretty obvious to me that the latter of those two is the case. In my experience, SightSpeed is easier to install than Skype, it is more likely to work the first time, and every time, it has substantially less problems with conflicts with other software, drivers, cameras, audio systems and such, and it is much less likely to suffer from dropped calls than Skype. All of those things are important to Dell, first because they want to provide the best and most reliable product to their customers, but second, and perhaps more importantly, because they want to minimize the number of customers who are going to be calling Dell customer support for help. On top of all that, they want to have a partner who is willing and able to take care of customer support when necessary, and that certainly leaves out Skype.

I also happen to remember what happened the last time Dell made a deal with Skype. It turned out that Dell included McAffee Anti-Virus on their systems, and McAffee is one of many programs that causes tremendous problems for Skype. It never was clear whose "fault" it was, but that didn't matter - the result was, Dell customers who tried to use Skype ran into terrible problems, and when they got no useful assistance at all from Skype, they turned to Dell customer support. A company like Dell is not likely to forget something like that, and put themselves in that situation again.

jw 8/7/2008

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