Skype Needs A RebootSkype Needs A Reboot
The idea of Skype promoting itself as a <a href="http://www.pcworld.com/businesscenter/article/161753/skype_will_let_its_voip_service_talk_to_sip_phone_switches.html">business tool</a> is ludicrous. It's a pretty bad experience at the prosumer level and I can hardly imagine a business putting up with its inadequacies.
April 7, 2009
The idea of Skype promoting itself as a business tool is ludicrous. It's a pretty bad experience at the prosumer level and I can hardly imagine a business putting up with its inadequacies.One of the benefits of subscribing to Skype is that you get unlimited calls to land lines and cell phones for a ludicrously cheap $3 per month.
You also get the opportunity to pay for a real phone number so that people can call you even if they're not on Skype. The problem is, getting a number is an exercise in Kafkaesque futility. You start the process by telling Skype your location, and it assigns an area code. So far so good. Next, you're asked to choose your own number. (Actually, you have to guess that's what they mean by the words "enter your favourite combination" under the field for the phone number.) You're also told that you can use the * symbol to represent any digit. Great. I entered a combination of numbers I tend to use frequently for passwords, and hit enter. I got a message that said, "Sorry, we don't have any available numbers containing your pattern in the selected area code." Huh? So you mean I have to guess at a pattern you do have available? I decided to simply enter seven asterisks, figuring it would just assign whatever numbers they have available. No such luck. "Sorry, we don't have any available numbers containing your pattern in the selected area code." So I don't have a phone number, but at least I have unlimited calling, right? Um, nope. Skype cuts off calls that last longer than 29 minutes and 59 seconds, although it doesn't tell you about this anywhere, not even on its Fair Usage page. Skype's account management interface seems to have been designed by people who have never used the Internet. Even the simple process of editing credit card details takes a half-hour to figure out. Maybe that's intentional, because Skype really, really wants you to use PayPal. As an added bonus, whenever you dial into a conference bridge, or if you're waiting for the beep so you can leave a message on someone's voicemail, a message pops up warning you that your microphone is set too low. Given how poorly Skype treats its customers, there's good reason to worry the next step is for Skype to cut the call off. Three dollars per month -- I guess you really do get what you pay for. Here's hoping Google Voice can do better.
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