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Skype-Fring Relation Ends Over TOS Dispute

Fring which has accused Skype of ordering that an end to the pair’s four-year interconnection relationship in retaliation for it blocking Skype users from its new iPhone service.

Fring which has a mobile app that lets users of Skype, Yahoo and other services connect via chat or voice, said Skype had blocked this mobile app after Fring reduced connectivity to Skype users to its new iPhone 4 services. Skype rejected Fring’s claims which it was forced to reduce connectivity to Skype users after its new service, which caused unprecedented demand for data traffic. Skype’s VP of legal said that Fring’s claims were untrue and Fring made the decision to remove Skype functionality on its own, Skype Fring that was using the software in a way which breaches the company’s terms of use.

On Monday VOIP developer Fring stated that it is being forced to halt its compatibility with Skype under a threat of legal action. Skype denied blocking Fring, but confirmed its allegation that Fring was breaching its terms of service.

Fring, which has offered interoperability with the Skype protocol since 2006, called this particular move of Skype as “anti-competitive ambush”. Fring said in a statement that since its foundation Fring’s rich mobile communication service have been available to both Fring users and to 3rd party networks like Google Talk, SIP, Twitter and until now Skype. However despite Fring is expanding its network nowadays to serve its increased and expanding user base, Skype is refusing to allow Fring to restore its connectivity to Skype. As a result Fring users will not be able to communicate with their friends in Skype but they can invite them to join Fringe.

However, Skype officials have denied the claim that Skype had blocked Fring. They stated that Fring has voluntarily severed the virtual connection between the two services. Though a spokeswoman for the company confirmed that Skype believes that Fring has violated its terms of service, and said that companies that did not comply with the terms of Operation will be subject to enforcement.

Skype spokeswoman said via an email that Skype has been discussing with Fringe regarding their belief that Fring is breaching Skype’s API Terms of Use and End User License Agreement. Skype further stated that they are disappointed that an amicable resolution was not possible. There is no truth to Fring’s claims that Skype has blocked them, rather it was decision of Fring and choice to withdraw Skype functionality. The spokeswoman added that Skype encourages openness and supports developers to build product that work with Skype in accordance with Skype’s various API license agreements. She said that in this particular incidence Fring has violated Skype’s by misusing the Skype software in ways which was not designed to meet consumer demands. She added just in the past weekend Fring pulled down Skype support for their iPhone video client which further besmirched Skype brand and disappointed consumers yet again.

VOIP War between Fring and Skype

The Challenge for Fring
You as the end-user of Voice over Internet Protocol services will be experiencing the adverse results of the war between Fring and Skype regarding alleged service blocks and video calling. Fring-to-Skype calls on the Fring application introduced difficulties relating to the use of Skyp support. In addition, the customer interested in using other features for Fring has also been experiencing difficulties.

The Problem
Recently, Fring switched off the connection to Skype following a massive demand for its newly introduced two-way video calling support. The switching off was so as to handle the massive number of callers turning up for the service designed specifically for the iPhone 4 over Wi-Fi or 3G. This turning off inconvenienced Skype as may be perceived because Skype was temporarily turned off.

The generated heat between the two companies has caused a drawback in the video call support field, and you as the customer will have to wait for more time to enjoy video calling across several devices. This represents a big let down in the communication industry.

Unfortunately for Fring, they still wanted the the Skype services after they expanded the two-way video calling, but they Skype refused to let them go. Fring has regarded Skype as fearing open mobile communication, but the latter have denied blocking the Fring’s service. Fring has suffered loss of reputation and damaged brand as argued, as a result of Fring’s failure to honor the terms and agreements established in API.

The people suffering are you – the customers who cannot currently make Skype calls. This applies to those using iPhone 4 and Android. Therefore, it is the customer who is suffering in this deal. The fact that Skype customers are suffering leads to the questioning of who should be blamed in this respect. There has however been reluctance for Skype to step up its services as promised earlier on. Android devices’ customers have not received anything relating to the earlier announcements by Skype that they would get support.

The users of Android devices who are not on the Verizon network have not also benefited from the arrangements between the two providers because the agreement made it possible to use a Skype application for those Android devices linked onto the Verizon network. You as the customer who has not been linked in this sense will continue experiencing high cost for optional linkages that are not free from limitations.

You as customers using 3G calling support on your iPhones will incur more costs to make calls. I think that Skype has to do an extra job to provide that its customers will experience exclusive services. It will save the users looking for more options if Skype can offer support for more devices or have a video call support on official time line basis.

How Customers be Helped
The tussle between Fring and Skype is not good at all because it is leading to suffering of some of Skype customers who cannot make video calls over many types of devices. Although the companies are blaming each other on who caused the problem, I do think that it is time Skype invented techniques to help its customers who are the losers in this tussle.

Skype Break-Up with Fring

Is everyone like me as troubled with Fring no longer supporting Skype? I have been using Fring on my Balckberry Bold for few years and I am hooked. I was looking forward to use it on the new Iphone since I heavily rely on its the face-face video calls through Skype and all my other favourite applications. It is fantastic since it supported multiple Internet communication platforms via one application.

Rumoured causes

There are several rumours as to why this has happened. Like most of us, who are on AT&T, have always never failed to experience the usual overloading problems while using their network either for data transfer or VoIP. Like them, Fring seems to have similar issues and had to ban Skype users from using their platform. Initially soon after launching the updated version for Iphone, Fring announced in their forums that Skype’s ban is temporary. Alas! It wasn’t soon when they confirmed complete ban in their press release. So now people are blaming the Iphone for being the cause factor for having Skype as a featured application on it. This does not mean Fring is going away from Iphone. However, I have to agree with 9to5mac.com who articled that Skype is sabotaging their own reputation of being open minded, by actually threatening to sue Fring for having Skype as their supported application.

Fring’s reaction

Fring in a news statement earlier this week did say they were forced to terminate their four year relationship with Skype interconnectivity, due to legal action threat. Since their launch in 2006, Fring have been available not just to fring-fring users but also 3rd party networks like GoogleTalk, AIM, Facebook, Twitter, MSN, Yahoo Messenger, ICQ, SIM, and few others. Avi Shechter, Fring’s Co-Founder and CEO said the reaction and the timing of this odious decision from Skype sadden him, he added by saying “We apologize to our users for the impact of Skype’s bullying and we will be happy to reconnect with Skype once Skype reverses their decision”. The company still seems optimistic as they are working expanding their network capacity to better serving their increasing user base.

Are they coping well?

Fring – Fring video call clarity is equally good as Skype, but I feel it defeats the purpose for me having it since I mostly use the application for the advantage of having all my favourite applications and the most used Skype for my Video call on a single outlet; also I have more contacts on Skype than Fring members. It annoys me to imagine I have to have Skype as a separate application, which will take more space that I could possible use for another useful application like Fring.

I even find it interesting how Fring on the website has placed a red ban sign against the Skype logo, although they still do promote the Skype banner as a selling point to get more users or just being hopeful to have them back on their network.

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