“Skype’s Future Doesn’t Look So Good.” So They Say.

This is the mobile Skype iconSkype has become such a part of our daily lives that we continue to use it despite its obvious shortcomings. It is victory of utility over user experience — the Skype app’s user experience is a lot worse than it was during the early days. The app has been crammed with so many features and has lost its intuitive simplicity.

The icons in the app often remind me of those unfinished hulks of buildings one sees when traveling down a freeway in fast growing cities. The garishness of the Skype app becomes even more obvious when you start comparing it to the new, more well-designed upstarts that have entered the market to take on the big kahuna. And mobile is its Achilles heel. GigaOM »

What I wanna know is what will replace Skype. I haven’t heard anyone say that competitors actually serve their users better than Skype does.

I think Skype is a tough app to follow. Skype isn’t perfect, and it may not help that they seem so easily misled to serve the wrong users. Nevertheless, Skype now serves many conference calls, podcasts recordings, and the like. For instance, if there is a good podcast alternative, I’d like to know if it. Right now, everyone says Skype is the best for podcasters that remotely talk with others on their audio recording for professional content. It’s what I’m going to use for podcasting unless someone proves there is something better.

I think that Skype is in a vacuum. Everyone would like a Skype-like solution to replace all of their email, texting, and the like. The problem is that proclaiming the end of Skype doesn’t really mean that it is in sight unless there are serious contenders that outdo Skype. Right now, there are many competitors that are better at some things, but they have many shortcomings. Not to mention that many of these competitors are happy to have a smaller user base and don’t attempt to grow.

Many apps in other mediums are equals, or grossly unequal in their utility. Yet apps that attempt to compete with Photoshop, for instance, still have a viable market share that keeps these Photoshop competitors alive. Does this mean that Photoshop is doomed? Don’t kid yourself. The competition has a long ways to go. Does this mean that all of Photoshop’s users are happy with what they’re stuck with? Certainly not.

I seriously doubt there will be in our lifetimes “one instant messenger to rule them all,” but if there ever was one, it’s Skype.

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