Android Apps

Skype kills video calls on Android by blocking Fring

July 12, 2010 | by Andrew Kameka

Commmunication

fring

WTF, Skype? Just days after everyone gets excited about Fring allowing cross-platform video calls and I go through the trouble of showing people how to set it up, you decide to block Fring? Not cool, bro.

Fring announced today that Skype has blocked the company from accessing its network, ending more than four years of connectivity between Fring and Skype. The influx of iPhone users last Friday forced Fring to temporarily take down Skype support in order to increase its network capacity. However, Skype will not permit Fring to turn back-on support, a move that Fring has called “cowardly.” (I’m checking with my sources to see if Dan Gilbert ghostwrote the announcement).

That means there will be no Skype video calls unless Skype decides to add that function to its Android app, presently available only on Verizon, a carrier that doesn’t have any phones with a front facing camera. Users can still make Fring-to-Fring video calls, so tell your Skype friends to sign-up for Fring.

UPDATE

Skype claims it did not block Fring and its actually in a longstanding issue with Fring for “misusing” its software and “damaging” the Skype brand. Read the company’s full response in a blog post here.

Here’s Skype’s refusal of the claim:

….Fring’s mis-use of our software was increasingly damaging our brand and reputation with our customers. On Friday, for example, Fring withdrew support for video calls over Skype on iOS 4 without warning, again damaging our brand and disappointing our customers, who have high expectations of the Skype experience…..In this case, however, there is no truth to Fring’s claims that Skype has blocked it. Fring made the decision to remove Skype functionality on its own.

Here’s Fring’s statement:

“We are disappointed that Skype, who once championed the cause of openness, is now attempting to muzzle competition, even to the detriment of its own users” said Avi Shechter, fring’s Co-Founder and CEO “We apologize to our users for the impact of Skype’s bullying and we will be happy to reconnect with Skype once Skype reverses their decision.” Avi continued, “We believe in communication openness and know that users will continue to vote with their mobile phones – opting for fring’s innovation, clarity, honesty and openness”.