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Why No Love for Mac, Skype?

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Missing the boat.


A new version of Skype for Windows (s msft) arrived yesterday, bringing tighter Facebook integration along with other new goodies like group video calling. But while Windows users celebrated the new arrival, Mac (s aapl) users watched from the sidelines as the parade marched past. What’s up with that?

Let’s be fair. Last time Skype issued a major update for the Mac version of its software, we actually got some features ahead of Windows folks. We got screen sharing and cheap Boingo Wi-Fi access before anyone else with Skype 2.8 in January 2010. Windows wouldn’t get those features until May. Thanks Skype.

But where’s the Mac love now? Yesterday’s update left us behind, at a time when ignoring Apple users is a very bad idea indeed. Let’s look at the numbers. Apple’s share of the home computer market went up to around 10 percent in the U.S. in recent months. That grows even larger if you count the iPad as a personal computer, which many research firms don’t. In fact, if you do include the iPad, Apple is the biggest U.S. PC manufacturer.

Let’s leave aside, for the moment, the fact that there’s no Skype app for the iPad. Actually, on second thought, let’s not. Seriously, how can you justify not having presence on that device at this point in the game, when you’re a firm the size of Skype? (Yes, Facebook is even more worthy of finger-pointing, but still.) Arguably, you could use the Skype iPhone app, but in general, running non-native apps isn’t a pleasant experience, even if the functionality remains the same.

Speaking of Skype for the iPhone, where’s video calling? The iPhone 4 arrived in June, and brought with it a front-facing camera ripe for Skype. Yahoo (s yahoo) Messenger beat them to it. Considering it’s at the core of what Skype does, that should come as a slap in the face. FaceTime is strong competition for Skype, but if the VOIP company had managed to get a mobile-to-desktop video calling client to market in early days, it would’ve had a good chance of eclipsing Apple’s own service.

As it stands, Skype still hasn’t introduced those features, and Apple seems poised to bring FaceTime to the Mac next week when it reveals OS X 10.7 Lion. When it does, even if the next version of Skype also brings mobile-to-desktop video calling and group video chat, it’ll be an uphill battle for the company.

All new Macs with built-in displays have integrated web cams. All new iPhones have integrated webcams, be they front or back-facing. Apple is doing better in the mobile and PC markets than it ever has. The future of your business, Skype, is in cross-platform video calling. What isn’t clear about this picture?

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15 Responses to “Why No Love for Mac, Skype?”

  1. Well with the fresh release of Facetime Beta, who needs Skype anymore?

    Darrell, you are right in that Skype has missed the target and neglected the Apple user base. I personally thought Skype functioned much better on my MacBook Pro as opposed to my HP Windows laptop. There were less dropped calls and better video quality on my Mac with Skype. There may have been a few kinks with Skype on Facebook with Safari, but I’m sure those will be worked out with time. I am an avid user of Skype since I travel much and those low international call rates are great. However, I do feel neglected now when Windows gets an upgrade, and Skype is ‘still’ working on the Mac update. What is up with that?

    At the moment I’m enjoying my newly installed Facetime Beta, so long Skype.

  2. Umm this is not anything new. I am a Mac user and a Widnows user. I went all Mac in 2007 and tried very hard to stay that way.

    Now I am slowyly moving back, and may become all Windows. Fact there is WAY more software on Windows. Sure there is great software on the Mac.

    However us a Mac user you spend WAY to much time trying to find software to replace the Windows software you once used. In many cases the software, even from the same vendor, is of less quality compared to the PC side. Microsoft Office and Intuit products are great examples. Quicken and Quickbooks on the Mac suck compared to the PC versions, and there are NOT any alternatives to really replace them. Office 2010 blows away any Office package on the Mac, even Office 2011.

    Like others have said, even at 10% market share, which is only in the US, software developers want to make money….not a statement about worshiping over priced hardware or another Linux distro with a fancy GUI (OS X).

    If I were in the software money making business Windows version would roll first, and Mac version would only come if I thought I had a chance of breaking even on it.

    Facetime for OS X….if BFD. AIM, Microsoft, Yahoo, and Skype have had FACE TIME for a long time on computers, even on the Mac.

    • Actually, Larry, I have found the opposite to your experience. Just FYI, my background is over 15 years on Windows, building my own custom systems, and maintaining a mixed mainframe/Windows environment for one of the largest financial institutions in the country.

      I was a Windows evangelist for years, then after using my financée’s Mac for a while, switched to a Mac with Parallels to run whatever Windows apps I needed, and have finally managed to get rid of Parallels. I have never found any difficulty seeking out replacements for my software, and have usually found the replacements to be superior. Couple that with the fact that the OS is such a superior experience for me compared to any version of Windows (I have never had to reinstall Mac OS, whereas Windows was about every 3-6 months).

      It’s a bit off-topic, but your facts are really only your experiences, not facts at all. Everyone’s experience is different, and mine has made me very glad I could get away from Windows for good.

  3. I think Darrell’s main point is still relevant – why release an update for one platform and not the other? It doesn’t matter if Mac enhancements come first and then Windows follows or vice-versa…Skype should release the updates for all platforms simultaneously. But I will also say that this is not 1997, when Apple had very little market share. Today Apple may have increased marketshare to 10%, but it is also way out in front in terms of mindshare. If companies like Skype want to keep the early adopters and – dare I say it, the intelligent tech commentators – on board, then they are going to have to pay a lot more attention to what Apple is doing and what the technorati are saying.

    • “I think Darrell’s main point is still relevant – why release an update for one platform and not the other? It doesn’t matter if Mac enhancements come first and then Windows follows or vice-versa…Skype should release the updates for all platforms simultaneously”

      That’s silly. It’s silly because we cannot expect companies to simultaneously release applications for all platforms that they have market shares in. Even Apple doesn’t do that! Look at the iPod touch and iPhone versus the iPad. iPad is running an older iOS version right now than the iPod touch and iPhone. Does that mean Apple has “no love” for iPad?

      To wait but a few weeks is not a big deal at all and in fact should be expected.

      If you expect simultaneous release for all platforms then you’re simply being unrealistic and maybe a bit naïve.

  4. If you knew already that Skype is coming out with an update soon, why use the words “why no love for Mac”? That doesn’t make any sense. The only time that phrase makes sense is if Skype is not planning to make a Mac update in the foreseeable future. But since you (and I) already know an update is coming within two weeks, “why no love for Mac” as a phrase is mis-used in this context.

  5. This article is complete fluff.

    Yes, Mac share has finally increased to 10% in the USA, but that is still only 10%. That number alone disproves your entire argument, Windows should get a lot more playtime than MacOS.

    Mentioning iPad at all is irrelevant, they’re different operating systems and have very different requirements. Skype for iOS has seen quite a few updates (the addition of calling over 3G).

    Then you go on to mention Apple being poised to introduce 10.7 and Face Time to iChat. Unless you’ve been reading Steve Jobs’ diary, we won’t know if this is true until next week. Even if it is, it’ll be at least six months before anyone can get their hands on a release of 10.7 given that not a single beta has been sent to developers.

    It’s a good thing blog posts don’t cost money to publish…

    • You think FaceTime isn’t coming in iOS 10.7? I don’t need insider info or psychic abilities to see that one coming. And if Windows should get more playtime than OS X, you’re clearly thinking only in the present. If companies thought that way, none of them would have a future at all.

  6. I don’t get your comment about a facebook app for the iPad. Facebook is a web based application. It is beautifully optimized for the iPad. The only reason for the native app in the iPhone was to allow things like uploading pictures and movies, things you cannot take on an iPad. Until there is a camera on the iPad, and even then, I don’t see why the web app is not the best way to facebook on the iPad…. I’ll often use the mobile web version of facebook over the application on my iPhone!
    As for Skype, yeah I’d love to see better support on the Mac, but one thing Skype does that Apple does NOT with things like iLife, etc., is support back to 10.3.9 and PPCs. It takes a little more time to bake in support going that far back, and allows me to skype with my friend in Africa who cannot afford to go out and get the latest and greatest hardware whenever it is released. Give ’em a break! Do you think Facetime will work with anything lower than Snow Leopard? With a PPC? I think not…

  7. You “Apple Fan Boys” need to get a grip Darrell.
    Apple may have 10% of US market but nothing like in the world market.
    97% of market is more important than 3% of the market. Simple maths.

    Skype for iPad?
    Why? It has no camera so is not the first choice for a Skype user.

    If OSX Lion will have FaceTime why bother rushing a Skype app.

    • Because, let’s say, “I am” the only one who are using Mac, while my other families using PC and without iPhone/iPad.

      I don’t think Windows/Linux will incorporate FaceTime application anywhere within one year either.