WP Central

Business Insider is reporting that Skype is causing Microsoft and by extension Nokia problems in terms of sales of their Lumia line. The information comes from the shareholder meeting held yesterday in Finland but since it was not open to the public or recorded, there's a lot of second hand "reporting" going, some of it dubious.

Reportedly a question was raised about Skype from a shareholder. From BI:

"Nokia seems to be having a problem with the distribution channel due to Skype" asking how will Nokia deal with this problem. Elop answered "If the operator doesn't want us, it doesn't want us. We will appeal to them with other arguments. We have more to offer to them. It is a good point to start the discussion from Skype."

Both BI and an awfully written personal blog called 'Communities Dominates Brands' spin this as Nokia having problems selling Lumias because of carrier opposition to Skype.

While we have little doubt that carriers don't like Skype and are concerned about how Microsoft pushes it on them, it seems like flat out ignorance to claim this is why Nokia may be having trouble selling their Lumia line. 

As anyone on Windows Phone who has used Skype knows, it's far from a threat to carriers especially at its current stage. Let's go over the reasons why this story is dubious and reeks of shoddy reporting:

  • Skype on Windows Phone doesn't run in the background and can't receive calls
  • Skype is widely available on the much more ubiquitous iOS and Android platforms where it can run in the background
  • Tango Video Call is also now widely available on all platforms and can receive calls in the background on Windows Phone, making it more of a "threat" than Skype
  • Skype doesn't come pre-installed on any Windows Phone; Tango Video Call does
  • The carriers are gearing up for Skype by capping data and raising costs as voice-usage starts to decline

Certainly we can see carriers being concerned with how Microsoft integrates Skype into Windows Phone 8 but that seems like something that could be negotiated by the OEMs and carriers on a per-device level. Microsoft has been very, very good at working with carriers (and cable providers) on content delivery and not stepping on their toes. In fact it's a core reason why the Xbox 360 is doing so well as a general entertainment device over Google TV.

The notion that Android and iOS get a pass on Skype with the carriers but Nokia (and only Nokia) are being singled out seems ludicrous, especially since Windows Phone is a drop in the bucket compared to Apple and Google's systems right now. In other words, while Nokia may be having problems getting traction in the smartphone market with Windows Phone, we don't think it's because of Skype.