By the time you are reading this, you may have already hear that Microsoft acquired Skype for 8.5 Thousand million dollars (8.5 billion for U.S. citizens) a lot about the future of Skype for Linux have been written and after reading some of those articles I would like to write something about what I think.
Skype for Linux
Skype is a great way to communicate via voice with your contacts all around the world, being them your family or co-workers or customers, I've done in the past even small training courses via Skype.
To me the key of its success is that being one of the first and its focus mainly on business made now a days almost everybody is on Skype, at least talking of the business field.
It offer some great benefits, you may have real phone attached to your account, you can call to landlines and to cell phones at really small rates.
But as I said overall, is the big community it has and that there are clients for every platform, you have it for Windows, Mac OS, iOS (iPhone, iPad), Android, and maybe others.
I've read these days different opinions about the continuity of Skype for Linux, Microsoft said they will continue to support other than Windows platforms, but not necessarily means all of them. Just like I said before, one of the keys for Skype success is their community and that community is not always in front of a Windows PC, so they certainly need to support other platforms, but that for sure will be iOS (Would be crazy to cut support for millions of iPhones and iPads), for sure also Android needs to be supported, and certainly Mac OS too, but Linux?
Well, of all those platforms how many of them are Linux users? maybe not so much, and how many of those Linux users do not own an iPhone or an Android smart phone?, certainly a small number.
So, from the point of view of Microsoft it may not worth the support for Linux, they could give an API and let Linux users develop its own client, but can you imagine Microsoft doing such a thing? I can't.
I think that they can check in their databases how many users log from Linux clients, and out of those how many also log from other platforms, if a small percentage of users only log from Linux then they will cut support for Linux clients.
Talking about statistics, being this a blog about Linux you may think that most of the visitors use Linux in a daily basis, but that is not true, actually 48% of the visitors use Windows, and 40% of the them use Linux, the rest is spread in all other OSes.
Microsoft acquires Skype, Alternatives to it
Yes there are alternatives, Google voice is one of them, and if you use Google to look for alternatives you will for sure find a lot more, but the biggest problem here is that your contacts will not be in those communities, so may find yourself alone with no one to talk to.
In my case, I do not use Windows, just Linux 99% of the time (Windows, only to run iTues to update my iPod Touch), so what to do to continue using Skype once Linux support is discontinued is to use my Android phone or my iPod, actually I mainly use it on the iPod and not on the Laptop when I need to talk somebody.
There are also other Skype devices for the office, like stand alone phones, if they do not change or block the protocol (I do not see a reason of doing that) maybe something like Nimbuss may be developed for Linux computers.
Meanwhile Windows, MacOS and all mobile customers are supported there is not a real reason why the most of the users may leave Skype, so we, Linux users will have to look for an alternative, but an alternative to connect to the Skype network, and not an alternative Network, or we'll end up alone in that network.