Skype Goes The Platform Route, Launches Third-Party App Directory

by Gaurav Kheterpal on August 29, 2011

Though Skype holds the coveted title of being the ‘Big Daddy of Internet Telephony’, it has done little till date to promote developers who built third-party apps using the Skype API. Therefore, while Skype ranks as a popular service, it is lesser-known as a developer platform.

This is in stark contrast to other business tools such as Evernote which started as an app and then transformed into a successful platform such as Trunk. In fact, the Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) paradigm is gradually emerging as a norm in the productivity/ communication segment.

To that effect, Skype last week launched a new application directory for apps built on the Skype API. The App Directory consists of apps for business, call recording, desktop and whiteboard sharing, faxing, integrations with popular software and mobile video communications.

Though the App Directory is thinly staffed at the moment, there’s no doubt that the platform has as great potential. The App Directory lists 4 apps for audio and video call recording and another 6 apps for audio only. The App Directory will eventually host apps for both Windows PCs and Macs, but the current selection is mostly limited to Windows.

The Skype App Directory routes users to developers’ individual sites for specific applications. Users can’t purchase apps directly through the Skype App Directory. The ‘App Directory’ is a welcome move for all developer who use Skype API as it provides them additional traction, provides full access to user and billing information, and users who are tied to them as much as Skype.

From a user perspective, it provides convenience as they can view featured apps and browse by categories like business, call recording, desktop and whiteboard sharing. They can also search by language, keyword cost, platform, app and developers’ names. As GigaOM points out, the Skype App Directory is ‘another sign that companies are seeing the value of building up ecosystems around their platforms. And giving developers a way to showcase their wares is a great way to engender support.’

Last week, Skype announced that it has agreed to acquire group messaging service GroupMe. It would be interesting to see if Skype offers GroupMe services through its developer API. Meanwhile, Skype is encouraging developers who’ve built their own app using the API to submit their entries for a potential spot in the directory.

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Written by: Gaurav Kheterpal. Follow TheTelecomBlog.comby: RSS,TwitterFacebook, or YouTube.

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