Skype could regret pulling its service from Nimbuzz

James Thornton


Nimbuzz LogoThere is bad news for Nimbuzz users today, after the developer was forced to pull support for Skype from its popular chat client. It seems Skype is sick of third-party apps tinkering with the way its service is offered, having already blocked fring from including Skype functionality a couple of months back.

Given that Nimbuzz helped to enable Skype capabilities on a host of devices that would otherwise have not had access to the service, it does seem a little harsh of Skype to stop other kids playing with its toy now that it has got finally grown up and got its own mobile offering in order. Skype might be thinking that it doesn’t need Nimbuzz or fring anymore, but the irony is that VoIP calls via NimbuzzOut and fringOut are generally cheaper than they are through Skype.

Add to this the fact that users can connect with other social networks and messaging clients through Nimbuzz, and you start to wonder why you would choose Skype now anyway. As Tobias Kemper, General Manager, Nimbuzz USA told us in response to Skype’s decision:

We are not here to argue, but to move on and if that means removing Skype on their orders, so be it. Nimbuzz users can still use free calls, messaging and file sharing on all major mobile handsets and platforms, even Mac and PC, and connect to Facebook, MySpace, Yahoo, GoogleTalk, Windows Live Messenger, AIM, ICQ, and more.

One of Skype’s advantages over Nimbuzz is that it enables you to make video calls via its mobile client. However, this edge may be about to be blown away, as Kemper revealed to us that Nimbuzz could choose to integrate Apple’s FaceTime video calling API into its software.

We are all about open communications and offering our users the flexibility of choosing the best way to communicate whichever way they want. Adding FaceTime would be a natural extension of our service offering.

Just as when it pulled the plug on fring, Skype is facing another PR pounding from disgruntled users of the massively popular Nimbuzz apps. Both Twitter and the Nimbuzz blog are awash with comments from users expressing their outrage at Skype’s decision. Of course, many of Nimbuzz’s 30 million-strong userbase will now just switch to the Skype app. However, users of these multi-network chat clients tend to be a loyal bunch, so it wouldn’t surprise me if Nimbuzz saw an upturn in sales of NimbuzzOut credits from today.

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