[TECHNOLOGY★] FACEBOOK QUIETLY DUMPED SKYPE
(P1) Social media can make a relationship a lot more complicated. Take, for example, Facebook and Microsoft’s Skype.
(P2) Back in 2011, they were the happiest of couples, telling everybody how they were working together to make video calling in Facebook Messenger a reality.
(P3) Mark Zuckerberg said at the time that he and then-Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer were “really aligned on this.”
(P4) But now, with the launch of video calling in Facebook Messenger for iPhone and Android, there’s no longer any doubt: Facebook and Skype have broken up, and Skype seems to be the one who was dumped.
(P5) While no announcements have been made, we started to suspect Facebook and Skype were no longer quite so close in 2013, after Facebook introduced a voice calling option that used Facebook’s technology.
(P6) But the real rupture appears to have happened a few months back. That’s when Facebook quietly stopped using Skype for video calls made from the desktop, replacing Skype with technology that Facebook developed in-house, Facebook confirmed to Business Insider.
(P7) This change was made because Skype-powered video calls required users to install a browser plug-in, while the technology Facebook whipped up works without one — important for call performance, video quality, and letting Facebook more quickly make changes and upgrades to video chat, according to a person familiar with the matter.
(P9) The demise of the Skype partnership represents the second major example of Facebook cutting ties with Microsoft recently. In December, Facebook unceremoniously stopped using Microsoft Bing to provide web search results on its social network.
(P10) Microsoft and Facebook have a long history together — Microsoft in 2007 invested $240 million in what was then a promising young social-networking company. Now that Facebook is a tech behemoth in its own right, it no longer needs to rely on others for technology such as search and voice calling. And keeping things in-house gives Facebook more control.
(P11) Microsoft declined to comment on the end of its Skype deal with Facebook.
(P12) Two weeks ago, in mid-April, Skype community manager Claudius Henrichs made a post to the official Skype forums, saying: “Facebook is making a number of changes to the way they connect their products with partners like Skype.”
(P14) “We never like it when features have to go away like this,” Henrichs wrote. Skype users will be able to use their Facebook account to find friends who have a Skype account, but it’s not the same.
(P15) Skype’s partnership with Facebook may have been a casualty in the social network’s mission to never, ever, ever let its user base leave the site for even a single second.
If you found the passage difficult to read or had problems understanding specific words or idiomatic expressions, please discuss them with your tutor. The following discussion questions should be answered in your own words and with your own arguments.
- Briefly summarize the content of the article in your own words.
- In 2011, Facebook executives were really excited about integrating with Skype. Why did they change their minds?
- Do you use Facebook? Do you use Skype?
- There is a lot of talk about “seamless” technology – the Facebook / Skype partnership was supposed to be an example of it. What does “seamless” mean?
- Despite all this talk about seamless technology, different systems and applications often do not work well together – Microsoft and Apple products, for example. Have you ever had problems with this yourself?
- In the Facebook / Skype partnership, which one was the more powerful partner?
Expressions to Practice
What do the following expressions mean? Practice using each expression in a sentence; extra points if you can use it in conversation.
- To cut ties
- Laundry list
- The beginning of the end