Skype and Fring feud over mobile video calling

Fring and Skype lock horns over concerns that the third-party app provider was not sticking to the terms and conditions of its various API licences
Written by Ben Woods, Contributor

Mobile communications software company Fring is reporting that its multi-standard VoIP app is no longer working with Skype following the escalation of a feud between the two companies.

In a statement posted on the Fring website on Monday, the company says Skype is no longer allowing it access to its services despite four years of successful interconnectivity between the two.

"Now that Fring expanded capacity to support the huge demand for video calling for all users, Skype has blocked us from doing so," said the company in its statement.

A spokesperson for Skype told ZDNet UK that "Skype has been in discussions with Fring regarding our belief that Fring is breaching our API terms of use and end user licence agreement (EULA). Skype is disappointed that an amicable resolution was not possible. There is no truth to Fring's claims that Skype blocked them, it was their decision and choice to withdraw Skype functionality".

Fring's mobile users had previously been able to talk with Skype customers, and the company launched two-way video calling over Wi-Fi or 3G connections on the iPhone 4 on 8 July. However, it removed Skype access on 9 July, citing capacity overload in a blog post.

"As even more Fringsters video call their friends on Android, Nokia and iPhones, we have seen some network 'stress' (as the techies are telling me). So to free up capacity for more the Fring-to-Fring video calling, we are temporarily reducing support to third-party Skype," said the statement.

In a response posting on the Skype blog, the company's vice president of legal Robert Miller said that unplanned actions like this harmed the Skype brand, adding that Fring was not adhering to the Skype software API's terms of use and EULA.

"Fring's misuse of our software was increasingly damaging our brand and reputation with our customers. On Friday, for example, Fring withdrew support for video calls over Skype on iOS 4 without warning, again damaging our brand and disappointing our customers, who have high expectations of the Skype experience," Miller said in the post.

The Fring statement maintains that Skype is refusing to allow Fring to restore connectivity to its service and instead recommends that customers wishing to stay in touch with their existing Skype contacts should invite them to sign up for a Fring account.

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