Fring-Skype

When last we saw Fring, the VOIP app was touting its popularity after an update to its iPhone client and how it had to "temporarily reduce support to Skype" because of it. Looks like there may be a bit more to this story, however, as this morning Fring took a major backhand to Skype, complaining that it's Skype that is not allowing the access.

But it gets a little weirder than that. On one had we have a pretty straightforward press release detailing Fring's side of things. And on the other is a pretty inflammatory post on Fring's blog that openly calls Skype "cowards" for "trying to muzzle the competition." (Also a line used by Fring's CEO in the press release.) That's a long way from last week, when things seemed more like a small technological bump.

We're hoping to get Skype's side of the story soon. We'll go out on a limb here and hope that this is a precursor for Skype shirking its Verizon exclusivity and finally bringing a proper app to the Android Market. But in the meantime, we're all going to have to sit back and watch this one unfold. Thanks to everyone who sent this in.

Update: The plot thickens, as Skype just got back to us and tells us that removing access was all Fring's doing. Here's the quote:

“Skype has been in discussions with Fring regarding our belief that Fring is breaching our API Terms of Use and End User Licence Agreement. Skype is disappointed that an amicable resolution was not possible but Fring’s decision to withdraw Skype functionality immediately was of its own choice. Skype encourages developers to build products that work with Skype in accordance with our various API licences. However, Skype will rigorously protect its brand and reputation and those companies that do not comply with our terms will be subject to enforcement.“

 Update 2: Here's Skype's blog post on the whole thing.

 
There are 21 comments

Seven2k says:

INteresting. Sucks for iPhone users though.

EeZeEpEe says:

Huh? It sucks for all Fring users. Skype isn't available for all of us.

Insp_Gadget says:

Exactly. If the Skype client wasn't a Verizon exclusive on Android (AND if it supported video calls--which it DOESN'T), then we would be fine.

Right now, we're all screwed and have to rely on Qik (which only works EVO to EVO)... same situation as the iPhone's FaceTime--only with a much smaller user-base.

Unless Fring magically becomes a mainstream platform for video calls, losing Skype is a major blow.

I hate Skype so much these days. Fring came in and filled a gap that they haven't even addressed since their pointless partnership with Verizon. Fring doesn't even seem to be a big company yet they're as fast as XDA developers when it comes to updating their software, they really waste no time as soon as new APIs are released.

Then what happens? Skype basically get's jealous and throws lawsuit threats around.... IN AN OPEN SOURCE ENVIRONMENT??? Wow Skype. They've been extremely slow with any software updates and barely even communicate with their customer base. It's just getting ridiculous with this company.

eyesparky says:

Skype needs to release an app that works over 3G/4G and wifi already. I am in the UK on 3 network, where I get their 3G cut down application (sounds similar to the Verizon service in the US) which I rarely use as I can't have wifi networks take over when I have a decent connection. It is all pandering to the networks but if it worked on wifi I would use it all the time, be more likely to use my smartphone over 3G data connections due to familiarity of using such services etc. It gets old quickly having applications crippled to prevent users from using them as effective tools.

As for Fring, it does not seem to have developed much over the past 4 years since I first used it on a Nokia N95 and retains many of the issues it had back then. Now that it does not support Skype, I have little use for it.

rufflez says:

Wow, they made Fring sound like they tarnished the Skype name... when in reality, its quite the opposite.

patrixl says:

Google acquired Gizmo almost a year ago, I hope they do something with it! Gizmo was shaping up to be a pretty good Skype competitor before it started stagnating in 2009...

eyesparky says:

Totally agree, Google have all the components of a knock out, game changing application. Maybe they are waiting until Android is better established before they upset the carriers a bit with something along these lines. Would love to see it soon though ...

rvirga says:

I was fortunate enough to sign up with Gizmo before they were bought by Google and they closed registration, so I can still use it. It's way better than Skype for both voice quality and call reliability. The rates are competitive with SkypeOut. And, best of all, it is based on SIP, so you don't need a special application (I use it with Fring on Android).

Darkseider says:

Time to cancel my Skype account. The only reason I had the damned thing was so I could use it w/ Fring over Wifi to make voice calls. SipDroid and Google Voice it is!

alexlevy117 says:

Interesting scenario here. Sounds like the battle between the Apple iTunes sync issue with Palm. If you are the owner of the software/application then I guess you make the rules. We see who won in that battle. Who knows what version of the truth IS the truth between Skype and Fring? They say necessity is the mother of invention so maybe this will entice google to develop their own application to compete against Skype. Seems only natural since they have their fingers in everything else. Would be a win win for google to provide their user base with a Skype alternative.

Nogre says:

You should try Nimbuzz for Android. Skype is working perfect.

Insp_Gadget says:

No video calls with Nimbuzz (AFAIK). So it's not a replacement for Fring. The whole point of the argument is to be able to do mobile video calls with Skype (mobile or desktop) users. If that function doesn't exist in a replacement/alternative product, we're still out of luck.

needsmoar says:

I installed Nimbuzz, no dialer for skypeout, tried to have a few people call me, it took so long for the call to come it never did and went to forwarding. the echo123 call almost didn't work either.

Alifaust says:

Good thing fring to fring video calls still work...

Insp_Gadget says:

@Alifaust. True, but that scope is far too limited to be of much use to the majority of the people using Fring. Most people that use Fring, only do so in order to access Skype.

When Fring ports through and gets gchat video calls working, everyone will forget about Skype. ;-)

mrw333 says:

Now looking for an alternative to the Fring/Skype combo for VOIP calls on Android. This little p**sing match between Fring and Skype has killed off a critical function on my Nexus One. Any suggestions on replacements? (FWIW, Nimbuzz seems also not to be able to connect via Skype now either).

banksj17 says:

Skype is so worried about how they look, They are getting blasted in the comment section on there blog... looks like people want fring or skype to come out with one on other networks.

This sux. There's no Skype app for my phone (HTC Evo) and hardly anyone I know is on Fring straightaway to do any video calling with. If this is how the video-calling trend is to start this time around, it doesn't have much of a future.

I'd be curious to know what part of Skypes Terms of Usage they say Fring is violating. Providing functionality and a bigger customer base is hardly a bad thing.

roblee37 says:

what about this for an alternative, they claim video chat calls to any phone supported, which they list iphone, android, symbian, windows mobile as well as pc/mac. http://www.movicha.com/ .. it is in the market app.