iSkoot, not Skype launched on Symbian

There is a lot of chatter amongst VoIP bloggers about the launch of Symbian version of Skype, mostly inspired by this story in The Inquirer. That is not exactly the case.

You see what happened was that iSkoot, a Cambridge, MA.-based company cut a deal with 3g wireless service provider, 3, part of the Hutchison empire. As part of that deal, 3 would install iSkoot in some of its handsets including two Symbian based phones, the Nokia N73 and Sony Ericsson W950. iSkoot is not an official Skype product, and despite a tepid endorsement by Skype, and its capabilities, cannot be qualified as Skype for Symbian.

About 100,000 to 150,000 such phones would have iSkoot embedded in them. Jacob Guedalia, CEO of iSkoot told us that 3 will host the iSkoot technology and integrate it all with its billing and provisioning systems. A small flat fee will be involved for those choosing to use the iSkoot for Skype service on the 3 wireless networks.

The iSkoot software for various platforms including Symbian has been available for sometime, but this is the first time it has been OEM-ed to a mobile phone company, Guedalia said.

3, which has been one of the most aggressive builders of 3G networks hasn’t enjoyed much commercial success compared to some of their larger counterparts. There were rumors of Vodafone being interested in 3 for the right price.

The company is betting that the XSeries effort, a way to bring Internet services such as iSkoot (Skype) and Sling Media will make it more appetizing to consumers. This forced openeness has our good friend Carlo Longino in a bit of a swoon.

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