As Skype looks to launch a $100 million initial public offering (IPO), it faces some notable challenges on the mobile side thanks to the two dominant smartphone operating system suppliers, Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) and Google. Both OS players have developed in-house VoIP apps that run natively and more efficiently on their respective platforms, giving Skype a potential disadvantage, noted Rethink Wireless.
Apple's FaceTime and Google Talk don't require discovery, download or installation and run much more efficiently as background apps. While Skype's app is free, users must manually download the app from the store and configure it. And then the capability of the app can be controlled by the OS vendor and operator. A prime example is the fact that Skype on the iPhone was only available over WiFi early on. It now runs over 3G. Another drawback, according to Rethink Wireless, is the fact that even though Skype can run in the background on most smartphone platforms, it runs down the battery life.
Skype has acknowledged many of these issues in its IPO filing. "...Although our application for the Apple iPad, iPhone and iTouch is currently enabled to make voice communications over 3G networks, Apple or its carrier partners may choose to alter the terms of inclusion in its application store, effectively withdrawing this functionality at any time or develop competing applications, such as Apple Face Time, that may better integrate with Apple's devices," Skype indicated in its filing.
- see this Rethink Wireless article
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