I am a heavy Skype user and I use it to keep in contact with my office remotely. I regularly use my Skype-in number, 1-1 Skype and group Skype conference calls. I pay a subscription and frequently top-up my account for VOIP calls.
I am a long time Skype user, first signing up when Skype launched. The quality first started to wane when the P2P supernodes architecture was changed to route everything through the NSA/Microsoft servers in the US.
The quality of Skype group calling has got worse and worse as a result of this architectural change. Over the last month or so, the quality has dropped so that it is unusable for group calls. I don;t know what has changed (my network hasn’t changed as far as I can tell), but the quality is now dire.
As a result I have started to move my entire company to Google Hangouts, which is qualitatively much better than Skype for group calling. The audio is crystal clear. I can share my screen easily and at high quality. Apart from the awful Hangouts user selection tools, Hangouts wins hands down.
I spend a fair amount of money on Skype. My company all currently use Skype as well. Skype need to consider ways in which they can improve group calling quality. The lack of quality is about to drive us all into the hands of their competitors.
Finally a note on privacy. Skype has lost my trust when it came out that Microsoft seems to have bedded down with the NSA, rolled over and gladly taken it up the arse from the NSA. Microsoft (in my opinion) is the corporate equivalent of a whoring rent boy. Google Hangouts probably isn’t any more secure or private, and I accept that. What both companies need to appreciate it is that non-US citizens are now actively seeking European secure alternatives to group chat and VOIP conference calls. We are prepared to pay and European start-ups should realize that this is a great opportunity to enter a market that was previously locked up by large US incumbents, but due to the NSA this market has now become wide open again in the EU market-place.
The first European company that builds a simple client that allows people to text chat and VOIP call easily with a screenshare will get my money. Your requirements are thus:
- An easy to use VOIP client that uses P2P
- Simple way to find other users without registering
- A group text chat feature
- A screen-share feature
Go get ’em EU start-ups! Skype problems are to your advantage!