Skype is fast running out of friends in the Mobile VoIP industry. First, it was Fring and now Nimbuzz is facing the axe from Skype. Nimbuzz yesterday published a blog post about its breakup with Skype announcing that the latter will no longer be accessible via Nimbuzz starting October 31, 2010.
Nimbuzz claims that Skype’s decision is a part of its broader strategy to disconnect all open third party support. Skype says it is playing as per the “mobile phone rules” and it offered to discuss the issue with Nimbuzz but hasn’t heard back from the other company since August.
Being an ardent Nimbuzz fan and a Skype lover, I’m mighty disappointed with this announcement.
Though Skype may be the “Big Daddy of Internet Telephony“, Nimbuzz is no minnow either. With 150 million downloads and over 3.65 billion mobile voice minutes, Nimbuzz has set the alarm bells ringing amongst the VoIP biggies. So, it’s understandable that Skype wants to counter the Nimbuzz threat lest it grows out of hand. It is widely believed that this move is part of Skype’s preparation for its IPO launch which was filed in August. Another theory suggests Skype is a possible acquisition target for Cisco and the former is trying to consolidate operations before it takes the plunge.
On the other hand, Skype has hit a purple patch in signing lucrative deals with telecom carriers in the last six months. Its wireless partners include big names such as Verizon Wireless, 3 & KDDI, and the list is only going to get bigger from here on. Now that Skype is well and truly a big league player, is it consciously trying to counter the explosive growth of applications such as Fring & Nimbuzz?
The loss of Skype is a big blow for Nimbuzz and it’s understandable that the company is taking proactive measures to minimize the impact of this breakup. Nimbuzz is now offering a 15% bonus credit to use on NimbuzzOut. Further, it is reiterating its position as a leading low-cost Mobile VoIP aggregator as NimbuzzOut lets users call mobile phones and landlines in 45 countries for only 2 cents per minute.
If you use Nimbuzz for Skype calls, be prepared to change your habits starting October 31. Nimbuzz will however continue to offer free service with other VoIP/SIP partners, instant messaging services and social networks including Facebook, Yahoo, Windows Live Messenger, AIM, Google Talk, Twitter, MySpace, ICQ and more.