Yesterday while I was at a conference Skype announced on their blog that they were dropping the ‘beta’ label from their Mac release, and that group calling would now be a paid feature. Obviously, I had to respond. 🙂
I have a lot of fun talking about Skype because I think their decision to move towards enterprise is correct, but that they’re a couple years away from having functionality competitive to VSee, WebEx, and the like. (See the original Skype Group Calling? 6 Reasons I’m not Scared., Skype Group Calling? 7 MORE Reasons I’m not Scared., or this list for all our Skype posts.)
However, they now have an official Mac version, something we can’t claim just yet. We’ve got a long-standing alpha version that should move to beta in the next few months, and we’re committed to having mobile apps this year.
On the other hand, Skype gave us an easy opening by charging for group calling—something we did better in the first place. We may as well start there and run down a few crucial comparisons:
1) Skype’s group calling is no longer free. At $5/day or $9/month, this feature is now priced equivalently to VSee’s $10/month Team license. VSee’s group calling is still free for personal use!
2) Skype only allows up to 10 callers. VSee is restricted only by what your system can handle…and it uses fewer resources than Skype.
3) Skype’s only “collaboration” tool is a desktop share. It cannot be remotely controlled nor annotated, and as such isn’t very collaborative. VSee allows remote control/coediting and annotation not just of desktops but for ANY window (with one click!), and also has drag-and-drop file transfers. (Oh, yeah: This is all still free for personal use!)
4) Speaking of the desktop share: Skype only lets you send video OR share the desktop. You can’t be seen while sharing with Skype. With VSee, you can “See. Share. Send.” all at the same time.
4) Skype uses supernodes (and now “mega-supernodes”) and, due to encryption concerns, cannot be used by the government, financial, and healthcare industries. VSee is used in all of three.
5) Skype traps you in their layout. Despite all the advances of Skype 5.0, they still keep all the video windows in a template that you have limited control over. Likewise with their address book. VSee lets you move or resize every video and shared window, as well as the address book, directly on the desktop.
6) Okay, fine. Here’s another one for Skype: Making phone calls is built in. But between my smartphone and Google Voice—and for most people the phone on their desk—I don’t find this a big deal. In fact, as more people rely on Skype for video, and since Skype never made much money on the long-distance thing anyway, I’d guess Skype knows this, too.
I mean, hey, they’re now trying to become a business collaboration tool, right?