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].

Skype and The Development of 3D Video Calls.

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All You Need

All you need is a webcam, an internet connection and a computer or mobile device with a microphone and speakers. With these simple essentials, you can bring people far away a little closer. Since it’s release in August 2003, The freemium voice-over-IP service and instant messaging service, Skype has provided its consumers with easily accessible service and has been internationally recognised as the go to service for communication across distance and internet.

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The various functions of Skype messaging

This media platform grants the freedom to make an account and include its latest downloads, enable video and voice calls to anyone else on Skype, and Instant messaging and file sharing.  Users are also offered the opportunity for calls to mobile and landlines worldwide at low rates, send text messages from its Skype credit and hold conference video calls with up to 10 people.

ImageIn commemoration of Skype’s 10th anniversary, the company confirm its plans for developing the ability for 3D video calls in a BBC interview. Microsoft’s Corporate VP, Mark Gillett discussed that Skype labs has been working on producing both 3D capture and 3D display of video calls. They admire the progress being already made with TVs and computer monitor however predict that their idea will be realised within a decade. Despite its increasingly speedy advancements, the limitations of technology restricts their growth and there’s a requirement of testing and adjustment, to launch the 3D feature for live video calls via multiple cameras.

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Mark Gillett, Microsoft’s Corporate VP for Skype

Gillett states that Skype aspires to achieve more practical advances in the near future, such as incorporating its service into Microsoft’s Outlook email service and Windows 8.1 operating system, bringing 1080p video calls to devices and strengthening the mobile aspect. Taavet Hinrikus, Skype’s former marketing director expressed “Today companies like Whatsapp, Viber and others are leaders in the mobile communication space – that’s something that Skype has to fight hard to get back.” and believes that Skype should refocus on product improvement and customer satisfaction as opposed to corporate restructuring and ‘being bought and sold’

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Skype running on the PlayStation Portable and Vita handheld consoles

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References

1. “How can they be so good?”: The strange story of Skype | Ars Technica. 2014. “How can they be so good?”: The strange story of Skype | Ars Technica. [ONLINE] Available at: http://arstechnica.com/business/2013/09/skypes-secrets/. [Accessed 24 March 2014].

2.Skype Features – Call, video, instant message, text & share more online . 2014. Skype Features – Call, video, instant message, text & share more online . [ONLINE] Available at: http://www.skype.com/en/features/. [Accessed 24 March 2014].

3.BBC News – Skype confirms 3D video calls are under development . 2014. BBC News – Skype confirms 3D video calls are under development . [ONLINE] Available at: http://www.bbc.com/news/technology-23866593. [Accessed 24 March 2014].

4. BBC News – Skype: How the online chat revolution changed lives. 2014. BBC News – Skype: How the online chat revolution changed lives. [ONLINE] Available at: http://www.bbc.com/news/technology-23862352. [Accessed 24 March 2

5. Skype, What you’ll need to get started, Image, Skype.com, viewed 24 march 2014 http://www.skypeassets.com/content/dam/scom/images/text-and-image/desktop/what-is-skype-laptop-image.png

6. Skype Building 3D Video Calls That None Of Us Will Likely Use | TechCrunch. 2014. Skype Building 3D Video Calls That None Of Us Will Likely Use | TechCrunch. [ONLINE] Available at: http://techcrunch.com/2013/08/29/skype-building-3d-video-calls-that-none-of-us-will-likely-use/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+Techcrunch+%28TechCrunch%29. [Accessed 24 March 2014].

5. Darrell Etherington 2013, 3D Skype Logo, Tech Crunch, viewed 24 March 2014 http://tctechcrunch2011.files.wordpress.com/2013/08/3d-skype.png?w=400

6. BBC, (2014). PSVITA. [image] Available at: http://news.bbcimg.co.uk/media/images/69530000/png/_69530470_vita.png [Accessed 22 Mar. 2014].

7.Site Pro News, (2013). Gillet Mark Skype. [image] Available at: http://www.sitepronews.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/08/Gillett-Mark-Skype.jpg [Accessed 23 Mar. 2014].