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Luxembourg is the new Redmond

May 21, 2005

Let’s just say it – Skype has build the operating system for the internet in two years. In the annals of the technology business, it’s probably only second to Paul Allen buying DOS for $50k. But 20 years later, Redmond fiddles (with Longhorn) while Skype burns up the internet with a scalable (peer-to-peer), secure, real-time communication network with directory and network-based identity.

The first application of course, is voice. When I talk to my fellow Americans about Skype, the universal reaction is – why not just use your cell phone? With our inexpensive communication services, huge country, and globally-challenged thinking, rich Americans don’t get the power of free global calling. But it caused 100,000,000 people to download Skype. Think about that – how many broadband lines are there in the world? Did I mention that this is the size of their directory? Their milestone last week was three million concurrent users.

Baring the Telcos introducing network latency prior to the arrival of WiMax, the telco’s will suffer, but you still need broadband. However, the disruptions caused by Skype go much further, because if they can do secure voice, everything else is a lay-up.

Skype recently added the number three communication application, Chat. They have also added file sharing and voicemail. What’s next? My guess is email and then RSS. Then they watch for interesting applications created by third parties via their API. Skype rips off the idea and makes it better since they control the platform – see, they really are the new Redmond.

Remember all those cool applications that the rich client crowd promised LongHorn would deliver – you know before they stripped out WinFX and made it XP 2.0. Longhorn was to empower information workers by intelligently prioritizing the flow of information we all receive, IM, RSS, phone calls, web and video conferences, voicemail, email, etc.

Who’s the one company who can do that now? And can do it from any device? And look at the lock-in – screen name, billing relationship, Skype-in number today. Tomorrow your contacts, your data, the relationship between and among both, and finally, network intelligence. It’s finally come true – the network is the computer.


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