Time to find an alternative for Skype...

Time to find an alternative for Skype...

When Microsoft bought Skype, it was clear that nothing good would come out of this for the users.

The first noteable thing was that the Skype website started bugging users to merge their Skype account with their MSN accounts.

Well, despite Microsofts best efforts to market MSN Messenger as a business product, at least here in Europe, MSN is a service, primarily used privately and - in fact - mostly by teenagers. A situation which I find not very surprising, given the endless list of security flaws in MSN Messenger and the assosiation with the Hotmail freemail service, also popular mainly among teenagers.

Skype, on the other hand, was aiming at business-users from the first moment. A clean, slick client was available for any major operating systems, including mobile platforms, while MSN Messenger always only was available for Windows and Microsoft constantly changed the protocol, trying to lock out third-party-clients. Skype also came with strong propietary encryption and a number of well thought-through business features, like conferencing et al., while reports about yet another security issue and yet another series of hacks and attacks against MSN users were not rare (although, in all fairness, it must be said that ICQ had bigger problems there).

So now, we should merge our business-use Skype accounts with sparetime-used, proven unsafe MSN accounts?

The next thing struck me today, when I noticed that the Skype onlinestatus-icon on my website was not visible any more. After some short research, it turned out, that Microsoft has changed the whole backend. While one before could simply get the icon through an URL, like e.g. http://mystatus.skype.com/smallicon/username, it is now required to include some Javascript from the Skype-servers to get the onlinestatus-icon. Some Javascript of which we don’t know what it is doing and - given past experiences with Microsoft - which is quite likely collecting some more information about the visitors than we might like.

Who knows, what’s next? It is time to look for an alternative to Skype!