Fring, which has enjoyed interconnectivity with Skype for four years, called the VOIP provider "cowards" for allegedly blocking Fring from offering video chat on smartphones. Skype said it didn't block Fring.
In a nasty war of words between VOIP providers,
Fring accused Skype of blocking it from letting users make video calls on
Apple's iPhone 4, Google Android and other smartphones and applied the
"c-word" to the company.
Fring, which has enjoyed interconnectivity with Skype for four
years, called Skype "cowards" for allegedly blocking Fring from
video chat on smartphones. Skype said it didn't block Fring.
Video chat via smartphones is a rich growth area Skype would
love to own the way it has corralled almost 500 million users for its
Web-based, long-distance calling and video capabilities on desktops all
over the world. It
makes sense that Skype would protect its business interests in this
The issue started July 8 when Fring launched
video calling for the iPhone iOS 4, Android and Nokia Symbian 60 devices.
in a press statement July 12 that it had to
cease "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."
In a follow-up blog post
, Fring changed the characterization
that it had to turn off Skype to say Skype had actively blocked Fring from the
"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."
Skype claimed that it never blocked Fring, but it did say
Robert Miller, Skype's vice president and general
counsel, responded in a blog post
that Fring was using Skype in a way it wasn't designed to be used.
Despite discussing this issue with Fring "for some time," Miller said
Fring's actions were damaging to Skype's brand and reputation.
Moreover, he said it was Fring that nixed Skype support
on iOS 4.
"On Friday, for example, Fring withdrew support for
video calls over Skype on iOS 4 without warning, again damaging our brand and
disappointing our customers, who have high expectations of the Skype experience,"
He added a none-too-subtle threat to Fring: That Skype
will protect its brand and reputation and that developers that do not comply
with its terms will be subject to legal enforcement.
Fring, meanwhile, pulled the "openness" card in its
"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."
Fring promised to soldier on without Skype, providing its
users free video calls, calls and live chat on "any advanced smartphone,
over any mobile operator, over your preferred Internet connection (3G, 4G,
WiFi) from the Fring Website here and app stores."
Skype, whose mobile application is featured and preloaded
on the Motorola Droid X Verizon Wireless that will begin selling July 15, is in good
position for uptick of VOIP in smartphones.
The company is sitting on a goldmine in its massive
network of users.