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Skype planning multiparty videocalls etc

I popped over to Skype's West End offices yesterday to interview Stefan Oberg - VP Telecoms - about a range of issues, most importantly the 0207 debacle and the possibility of Skype opening up its protocols to rival networks at some point in the future.But one point that didn't make it into the final story (focus, David, focus!

I popped over to Skype's West End offices yesterday to interview Stefan Oberg - VP Telecoms - about a range of issues, most importantly the 0207 debacle and the possibility of Skype opening up its protocols to rival networks at some point in the future.

But one point that didn't make it into the final story (focus, David, focus!) was the hint that Skype may finally be working on conference videocalls - it currently does conference calls and videocalls, but the two concepts haven't quite crossed paths yet.

Speaking to Sten Tamkivi, Skype's Estonia-based eCommerce chief, by Skype videocall (embarrassingly patchy picture quality, since you ask), I learned that the prayers of many of you (I'm looking at you, Jamie) may be answered sometime soon. "Launching high quality video was high on our agenda," said Tamkivi. "Multiparty video is now going to be one of [our priorities]."

The other nugget that rose to the surface was the forthcoming enhancement of Skype Prime, which is soon going to enjoy better integration with Skype's directories service. It seems that 80,000 people have signed up as service providers for the scheme, but as for user numbers... well, they're not talking about that, really. Maybe because they've only been letting users in during the last month, whereas the service providers have been hanging around since March. I wonder how many of them will still be interested.