Jenkins and the Downfall of Skype Mobile

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10 years ago, Henry Jenkins said “convergence is more simply a technological shift. Convergence alters the relationships between existing technologies, industries, markets, genres and audiences. Convergence refers to a process, but nor an endpoint” in 2004. The way that audiences receive content constantly evolve as they transition from passive consumers to active prosumers. We are now the media. The shifting role of audiences and their participation in response to content is a key change in the world of media.

In relation to Jenkin’s notions that consolidation of platforms and technologies in mobile devices and new forms of community, participation and knowledge production with migratory habits, we can view my case study of Skype. Skype is a closed source media platform and its capabilities are limited by the willingness of users to invest in premium options. Despite being accessible to many devices such as mobiles, tablets, TV, homephones and game consoles, Skype has been too preoccupied with makings sales and getting profit to properly adapt Skype to a mobile format. The app design is inconvenient with its poor access of sent files, poor video quality, frequent crashes and call drops. Skype mobile is capable of basic messaging, and free voice and video calls but not much else.

Consumers have been granted access to increasingly popular apps like Whatsapp, Viber and Kik. With a collection of greater variety of companies and individuals to download from with a more concise focus of mobile messaging, users are migrating from Skype to a platform which are better suited to their needs.
Personally, use Skype for my PC whereas I have KakaoTalk on my iPhone because its easier to use and has the same abilities but more suitable to my needs and wants i.e. cute animated emojis, quick access to sent files, display customization and read receipts.

In our present day, we are able to see Jenkins 2004 predictions about the tensions and points of conflicts in media convergence in action in the media world around us.


 

– Leo Burnett, (2013), Henry Jenkins. Available at: http://b.vimeocdn.com/ts/427/487/427487283_640.jpg (viewed 04 April 14)

– Jenkins, Henry (2004), The cultural logic of media convergence, International Journal of Cultural Studies, Volume 7(1): 33–43.

 

 

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Skype and the Fight with Copyright

Everyone knows of it, but the concept is hard to grasp sometimes. The complexity of it and the blurred lines makes it difficult to be defined. People often tend to break the prewritten boundaries without any intention of committing criminal acts. It’s not exactly common occurrence for police to knock down your door for playing music during a family BBQ because it just isn’t a big deal. The laws of intellectual property is disregarded.


Often while my mother sits besides at her desk, she is often watching korean reality shows (pirated of course), I often wonder how on earth these programs could play clips of songs like Lady Gaga, Beyoncé and even the harry potter soundtrack. Like what Eat Your Kimchi suggests, It’s although the copyright laws in South Korea aren’t strictly enforced or even exist at all!

Another case which is concerned with my chosen media platform, Skype is the March 2009 heated copyright suit between the company founded by Skype’s developers, Joltid and Microsoft’s Skype. A quick run down of the ordeal would be that for 2.8 billion dollars, eBay bought Skype in 2006 however not the rights to the program’s Global Index Software, a peer-to-peer technology produced by Joltid. According to CNET article, “Joltid terminated its license for the software after learning that Skype had allegedly acquired unauthorized versions of the source code, made unauthorized modifications, and disclosed the software to third persons”.As the founders sold Skype but not the rights to the software, it was not open content form of licensing. By doing so they were able to restrict the consumer’s capabilities of customization, profit by ‘Skype credit and premium subscriptions and the software is more easily managed and simpler to consult for technical problems.However, hypothetically if Skype was using an open content form of licensing, more variety of options are available, company independence would suggest that use of software can be continued regardless of the activity of the company, however this freedom might overwhelm users with confusions and chaos when you navigate on your own as there will be a smaller support group who are willing to assist.


 

CNET. 2009. Skype Founders File Copyright Suit against Skype. Available at: http://www.cnet.com/news/skype-founders-file-copyright-suit-against-skype/. [Accessed 01 April 14].

NY Times. 2009. Skype Founders File Copyright Suit Against eBay. Available at: http://www.nytimes.com/2009/09/17/technology/companies/17skype.html?_r=1&. [Accessed 01 April 14].

Business Week. 2009. Skype Lawsuit May Complicate Sale. Available at: http://www.businessweek.com/the_thread/techbeat/archives/2009/09/skype_lawsuit_m.html. [Accessed 01 April 14]

Eat Your Kimchi. 2013. Copyrights In Korea. Available at: http://www.eatyourkimchi.com/copyrights-in-korea/. [Accessed 01 April 14].

Eat Your Kimchi, 2013. Intellectual Property and Ripping Shit Off in Korea, TL;DR Wednesday [Youtube Video] Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=9AwCkzr_e1E [Accessed 1 April 2014].

CNET. 2009. Sold Ebay Jettisons Skype in 2 Billion Deal. Available at: http://www.cnet.com/news/sold-ebay-jettisons-skype-in-2-billion-deal/. [Accessed 03 April 14].