VOIP provider Skype Sept. 11 shuttered its Skype Extras third-party application development program due to lack of interest in the applications programmers created.
Skype, 65 percent of which parent company eBay is selling to Silver Lake and other investors, made the announcement in an e-mail to Skype Extras developers today.
"Despite the incredible breadth of Extras developed for Skype, simply not enough people were using them to justify our continued support of the Extras program," wrote Skype marketing spokesperson Elke Karskens in the letter, a copy of which was obtained by eWEEK.com. "It was a tough decision for us, but we want to ensure that we prioritize our time and resources to deliver our core products such as voice and video, expanding Skype among business users, and expanding Skype into mobile and other platforms."
Update: A Skype spokesperson pointed eWEEK to this blog post by Skype engineer Antoine Bertout, who explains the closure.
The Skype Shop Extras Website claims the program includes dozens of applications, which programmers submit to the Skype Shop for users to use for free or for purchase. Skype launched Extras in June 2007.
Karskens also said that beginning today Skype will no longer certify new applications, but that existing applications will remain certified until their expiration dates and all unused test tickets will be reimbursed. Apps will continue to be distributed through the Extras Manager in Skype for Windows but Skype will no longer add new Extras to the Extras Manager. Moreover, all public API documents will continue to be maintained.
After Dec. 11, Skype said it will no longer allow the use of Skype credit by third-party Extras developers, and a final invoice detailing the full amount of the gross revenue received from Skype users must be submitted within 45 days of this date. Skype will stop processing publisher invoices after Jan. 25, Karskens said.
The move is yet another sign of the changes Skype is undergoing as it seeks to become more nimble. The VOIP service boasts 481 million users and experts expect it to grow unfettered now that eBay is not hovering over it, vacillating on whether Skype fits into its future plans.
Skype does still have a nasty lawsuit with Joltid on tap, but this won't go to court until June 2010. In the meantime, the company can trim some of the fat and become better positioned for growth by improving its existing PC-to-PC calling services, and going after the mobile market. Shuttering Extras is one such step.
Karskens said few people were using the applications in the Extras program. One wonders whether Skype Extras developers feel they are getting a fair shake; some will no doubt claim Skype failed to adequately support their efforts.