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Skype Cuts Off Partnership With Open Source PBX Asterisk

By Debjit on May 27th, 2011 

Steve Ballmer gave all hocus-pocus when he was asked if Microsoft would continue to support non-Microsoft platforms. And now he proves that Microsoft would play tough with the open source or non-Microsoft platforms as we expected. Digium, the company behind the popular open-source Asterisk private-branch exchange (PBX) program, has announced that Skype has unilaterally ended its deal that allowed Asterisk to work with Skype. It suggests more about a change in strategy.

Skype for Asterisk is a server-side tool to integrate a Digium system with the Skype network as a native client. It was hyped as a cheap way to add value to Asterisk deployments. It was a strong and steady seller for Digium. Digium website yesterday had to say :

Skype has decided not to renew the agreement that permits us to package this proprietary software. Therefore Skype for Asterisk sales and activations will cease on July 26, 2011. Representatives of Skype have assured us that they will continue to support and maintain the Skype for Asterisk software for a period of two years thereafter, as specified in the agreement with Digium.

What has Skype to say?

Jennifer Caukin, a spokeswoman for Skype tried to give some sensible explanation. But was there really a need "to kill Asterisk". She said -

Skype made the decision to retire Skype for Asterisk several months ago, as we have prioritized our focus around implementing the IETF SIP [Session Initiation Protocol] standard in our Skype Connect solution. SIP enjoys the broadest support of any of the available signaling alternatives by business communications equipment vendors, including Digium. By supporting SIP in favor of alternatives, we maximize our resources and continue to reinforce our commitment to delivering Skype on key platforms where we can meet the broadest customer demand.”

Why such an act ?

Microsoft is on the verge of releasing Office 365, which includes UC ( unified-communications) platform Lync Online. When Microsoft finally releases Skype/Lync integration, it wants to be the only one with that functionality. Skype/Microsoft doesn’t want to let grow a competitor’s offering right when it has its own product.

So what's in future ?

Microsoft doesn’t have the best track record when it comes to maintaining the brand integrity of the companies it purchases. It is making the fact more obvious that it isn't interested in open source/open protocols. So, if some other open source platforms are blocked in the near future, we shouldn't get surprised. And talking on one more fact that it took Microsoft a lot of amount to buy Skype, would be prompting it do anything for making money- a desperate measure. The killing of Asterisk hints that it is more sort of making a commercial decision to focus on bigger market opportunities.

Here I come to kill you all !!!!


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Skype Cuts Off Partnership With Open Source PBX Asterisk was originally published on on May 27, 2011 - 5:13 pm (Indian Standard Time)