Really? Come on, really? It was almost like waking up on Christmas morning and hurrying down the stairs, only to find that there are no presents under the tree. I’m referring, of course, to the release of the official, free Skype application (iTunes link) for iPhone that took place first thing this morning in every country where the App Store exists, except for the one I happen to be living in right now. Canadian iPhone owners are out of luck, because Skype is not coming to their phones.
In a way, I shouldn’t be surprised. Most U.S.-based streaming media content, from the likes of Hulu and Pandora (and soon Last.fm, too, unless you’re willing to fork over a subscription) doesn’t make its way north of the border. Foolishly, I believed that a simple app like Skype, which just provides a convenient package for a service we already have access to via the web and other iPhone applications, would go through without a hitch.
The official reason the app isn’t available to Canadians is that a patent-license issue is preventing Skype from making it available, according to a company spokesperson. Other outlets suspect more sinister motives, pointing the finger at Rogers Wireless, who, along with their subsidiary Fido, are the only iPhone carriers in Canada. Digital Home, thinks that Rogers may have blocked the app to try to protect their wireless talk revenue. Remember, this is the land of the three-year contract we’re talking about here, so a little strong-arming isn’t exactly out of character.
Whatever the reason, you can always go the backdoor route and just download and sync Skype using an American iTunes account, which is not a difficult thing to get regardless of your country of origin. That’s exactly what I did, and so now my iPhone is fully Skype-capable in Canada. Currently, I’m having issues with getting speakerphone to work, and the mic seems to be cutting out, but I’m fairly sure that’s an iPhone OS 3.0 bug, not a problem with the program or the connection. Anyways, go download your copy now if you’re living anywhere except for Canada, or if you’re smart enough to navigate that minor blockade, and let us know how it’s working for you.