In another bit of what Microsoft calls “momentum”, and we think of as “non-news”, a flurry of posts reported yesterday that according to a video interview posted by “Rob from the Microsoft Social Media Marketing team”, a Skype app for Windows Phone is “coming soon”. The video begins by reiterating some Skype factoids announced at CES; that Skype now has 200 million users worldwide, is logging 300 billion user minutes a year, and carrying some 25% of the world’s international long distance minutes. Rick Osterloh, Skype Senior Product Manager for Products, then goes on to mention Windows Phone (along with a focus on mobile in general, and integration with Facebook):
We’re also working on a Windows Phone product that will be coming out soon.
However, as part of a bit of a bitchmeme over the weekend about whether or not Windows Phone can be successful, Robert Scoble answers Hillel Fuld’s “Windows Phone will be a Success” post on Business Insider:
First, I had dinner with Skype’s CEO on Thursday night. He told me that Skype won’t support the current version of Windows Phone. This gets to the heart of my “apps matter.” There are 450,000 apps missing from the Windows Phone platform and Skype is just one of those. That problem will NOT get fixed anytime soon. Heck, Skype is owned by Microsoft and if Microsoft’s own divisions don’t feel pushed to support the current Windows Phone (he explained to me that the other platforms are more important, so he put his developers on those) then there’s no chance other, non-Microsoft-owned developers are going to support it.
Now as much as we like Robert, it doesn’t help his cause that he refers who we gather to be Tony Bates, President of the Skype Division at Microsoft, as “Skype’s CEO”, or that the statement is directly contradicted by what Osterloh says, above. We’re guessing that Scoble is either taking liberties with what was said, misunderstood, or that “Skype won’t support the current version of Windows Phone” was taken out of context.
In fact, we would be surprised if Skype is not deeply integrated into the next version of Windows Phone, which we hope to hear more about soon and see as early as this holiday season. Maybe that’s what “the CEO” was talking about.
UPDATE: Indeed, a Mango app “soon” and then deeper integration with the next version of Windows Phone appears to be exactly what’s coming. Robert Scoble published a retraction to his original post, after Tony Bates called him:
Tony Bates, President of the Skype Division at Microsoft, says that they are indeed doing an app that’s coming on Mango. He says I misquoted him and didn’t understand what he was saying when he said they would wait until Apollo to fully build in Skype. So, today he called me to clarify: a Skype app is coming on Mango on WIndows Phone and further integration will be built into the Apollo version of Windows Phone.
Sorry for the trouble this caused Tony.