UPDATED 19:04 EST / JUNE 22 2010

Mobile Action: Apple 3m iPads <3 months & Skype Gets Smart Launches SkypeKit For Developers

image Big news today is that Apple announced that they have sold over 3 million iPads in only 80 days after its introduction in the US. Even more impressive is that Apple just this month started selling iPads outside the US.

Apple keeps blowing away the iPad estimates. I wrote about how all of this cloud computing and mobile innovation is changing the game. It’s changing how we use the web, and the Apple iPad shows us there are new applications for computers newer imagined before. On that similar path we have Skype, a company still wearing it’s diapers, changing the voice and video paradigm. Enter the massive surge in cloud, web apps, and mobile computing (aka smartphones, iPhone, and iPads) you have a game changer.

Today, Skype made a smart move by announcing their plans to open up their entire platform of over 700 million users to developers. To put that in perspective Skype is bigger than Facebook.

Skype developer strategy is built around SkypeKit. SkypeKit is "Skype’s Android-like" play. Open up to fuel innovation and accelerate new features to the market.

SkypeKit is a smart move by Skype.

According to Skype’s Jonathan Christensen he writes:

Skype is heading into new directions by empowering consumer electronic and desktop software innovators to embed Skype into their products through the availability of our new software development kit (SDK) called SkypeKit.

"We believe that every connected device can become a communications device, with the addition of SkypeKit. Likewise, desktop applications everywhere can now include Skype.

SkypeKit will initially be available as a beta on an invitation only basis. SkypeKit for consumer electronic device makers will be available tomorrow, June 23, based on the Linux OS. For desktop software developers, SkypeKit will be available for Windows and Mac in the next few weeks.

SkypeKit will not only include a robust set of APIs for a variety of popular Skype features, including voice and video calling and instant messaging, it will also deliver Skype’s signature super wideband audio, based on the SILK codec. In addition, developers who use SkypeKit will be able to describe them as plugged into Skype.

Providing these assets to a broad range of platforms, operating systems, and audio/video interfaces is not a trivial challenge, but we are excited about the opportunity ahead and look forward to the many new innovations that will extend the benefits of Skype. So hopefully, our announcement of SkypeKit will encourage you to imagine new possibilities and get coding!

I predicted a power move by Skype this in January and now Skype is enabling the creativity of others to increase the utility of voice and more compelling – video. It’s a great move by Skype to get both hardware and software developers cranking up new capabilities.

Skype Is About Video – Skype Is Consumer Internet Video

Many are talking about Skype as voice provider. Yes, Skype is rolling up the voice market as a viable alternative to big overpriced telcos around the world, but lets not forget the killer app in today’s and future Internet – VIDEO!!

Skype owns consumer Internet video right now, and the only way for them to compete with market forces like Apple and carriers is to open up the developer channel fast. This is Skype’s move and it’s very smart.

Look At The Scoreboard – Skype 700 million – Competition 0
Skype beat all the big players with video for the consumer Internet market (PCs and mobile). Look at the scoreboard: Google, Microsoft, Facebook, IBM, HP, even the Tiffany of video – Cisco.

Cisco is the Tiffany of Video – Skype Has The Advantage Being Open
I would go hard around the notion of Skype TV and compete against Cisco which has no offering for the common web user. Many are saying that Cisco’s Telepresence is pure luxury and a fantasy for mainstream users. To me Cisco Telepresence is the PictureTel of our generation – it’s super cool and high end, but irrelevant to "real web users".

Skype TV is a killer application and that product alone is a complete game changer. Skype could bring telepresence to everyone not just "wealthy enterprise" CEOs.

My Angle

Skype is very important to global communications and video in particular. Skype was the real first company to be first with video in a big way, and now they need to turn up the heat on more product releases which they are doing by building a multi-tasking iOS 4 compatible version of its app for the iPhone.

SkypeKit can be Skype’s Android if they get some lift with real developers building applications that create value.

Skype certainly has what developers want in a critical mass of users. All Skype needs to do is show the developer that they can provide profits (or monetization as we say).

We have seen that developers can build value. Translating that value into profit is the key for Skype to enable. "Show me the users and show me the money" – that’s what developers want.


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