What the fring?!
Here’s another update in the fring-3G-video-calling saga that’s been sweeping the tech world for a few days now. According to a recently published statement released by fring, support for Skype has been removed “following threat of legal action”.
The free application took a pretty decent bite out of the VoIP apple the other day, when it premiered the ability to video call over a 3G network. Fring also works brilliantly with Yahoo, AIM, Google Talk, MSN, and – until now – Skype. Many users reveled in the ability to use one single application for a large variety of different services. Sadly, Skype’s threats of legal action have put an end to this euphoria. Here’s what fring said in their statement:
“fring, the multi-award winning mobile over internet communication service, today announces that it is being forced to stop its 4 years of Skype interconnectivity following threat of legal action. Skype’s anti-competitive ambush comes in the wake of fring’s mobile video calling on iPhone 4 launch, which continues to set the standard in rich mobile internet communication.”
Additionally, fring’s CEO and Co-Founder, Avi Shechter, added his own personal comments to the statement:
“We are disappointed that Skype, who once championed the cause of openness, is now attempting to muzzle competition, even to the detriment of its own users. We apologize to our users for the impact of Skype’s bullying and we will be happy to reconnect with Skype once Skype reverses their decision. We believe in communication openness and know that users will continue to vote with their mobile phones – opting for fring’s innovation, clarity, honesty and openness.”
TechCrunch, who also reported on fring’s statement, successfully managed to contact a Skype spokesperson. They were told discussions between Skype and fring are “ongoing”, and the decision to drop Skype-support was made entirely by fring itself.
Following the release of their official statement, the team behind fring really took their gloves off in a post which recently appeared on their blog, titled “Skype Cowardly Blocks fring”. And it’s not just the title that hurts. Check out this section from the post:
“Now that fring expanded capacity to support the huge demand for video calling for all users, Skype has blocked us from doing so.
They are afraid of open mobile communication. Cowards.
Needless to say, we are very disappointed that Skype, who once championed the cause of openness is now trying to muzzle competition, even at the expense of its own users.
We’re sorry for the inconvenience Skype has caused you.”
Understandably, the guys at fring are fuming about Skype’s recent behavior. But they’re not letting it alter the service they provide, and remind us: “fring will continue to provide our users with the best mobile internet communication experiences that you deserve, with or without Skype.”
I guess all we can do for now is follow this gradually evolving story and guess what might happen next. Whether this ends up with a fring and Skype makeup, Skype allowing video calls over 3G, or none of the above, I don’t know. Keep checking back for updates – we’ll be posting as soon as we hear anything!