New Skype CEO "Interview" - He Still Doesn't Get It!

Skype has just published a so-called "interview" with their new CEO. First, rather than face the press and public, and possibly have to answer some hard questions from people who have (miserable) experience with Skype, he chose to hide behind a pseudo-interview with his own publicity manager.

Skype has just published a so-called "interview" with their new CEO. First, rather than face the press and public, and possibly have to answer some hard questions from people who have (miserable) experience with Skype, he chose to hide behind a pseudo-interview with his own publicity manager. Second, even with every softball question possible being served up to him, it is obvious that he still doesn't get it.

The biggest problem with Skype today is their disgraceful "Customer Support". It is not simply lacking, it's worse than that, it's counter-productive. When someone is trying to set up or use Skype to talk to loved ones who are far away, to show Grandma the new baby, or to conduct important business, and it doesn't work (which happens all too often), first, they want to be able to contact Customer Support quickly and easily. Not through some obscure web page, which even makes it difficult to submit a help request, but by telephone, or at the very least by email. They want a response in a reasonable amount of time - and that is measured in hours, not days or weeks - and they want a response that is intelligent and has the potential to solve their problem, not something that is so patently ridiculous that they either laugh or cry over it.

The second problem that absolutely must be solved at Skype is their habit of blocking users' accounts for no apparent reason (supposedly for the users own protection), and then taking days, weeks or even months to answer pleas for help and explanation.

Instead of talking about working on these problems, the CEO spends his time repeating the same empty promises of "ease of use" (he should take a look at the redesigned Skype User Forum for an excellent example of the opposite of "ease of use"), "world class video" (well, maybe, if you are willing to let Skype dictate the specific webcams you can use, rather than just the specifications), and once again hyping the vaporware "multi-party video" from Skype (SightSpeed has had this for quite some time, ooVoo has it now... Skype is still saying "real soon now").

Oh, and he parrots the totally bogus "300 million Skype users" claim. Of course, when you are talking to your own publicity manager, whose salary you pay and whose fate you can decide, it's not likely that you're going to get any hard questions, or get challenged on any of your claims or statements. Come out and talk to the real world, the real press, and some real frustrated Skype users, and things look substantially different.

jw 23/4/2008