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I've never been one to think Microsoft overpaid for Skype. I think it's a tremendous asset, despite a user interface I loathe. Its use is steadily growing, especially internationally. And now it's getting integrated with Microsoft's ecosystem. That means two things: first, a large number Skype users can get slurped into Microsoft services such as SkyDrive, Hotmail, and personalized Bing search; and second, a lot of people using Microsoft services can easily add Skype to the list.
Dan Macek's profile photoWilliam Wen's profile photoStephen Shankland's profile photoMesha  M. Dzinovic's profile photo
Skype needs to up the video quality. My wife decided to get an ipod mini for her parents so they could face time instead of using skype and a cheaper android tablet. Having used both the only substantive difference is video quality. The tablet skype app's UI seems about as easy as the face time UI.

We are finally getting mainstream video phone calls. We need flying cars to be living the Jetsons' life.
I hate managing contacts in Skype (e.g. adding them to groups), dealing with notifications, and finding where IMs disappeared to. It's persistently bad IMO.

I'm not sure how they can improve video quality short of miracle codec -- it's often gated by the quality of the P2P channel between two machines.
+Dan Macek Have you tried Google+ Hangouts?  It will probably work on your existing hardware without having to buy anything new (except for a web cam if you don't already have one).  You can also do multiperson video chats.
+Stephen Shankland  Being boring people we only need to manage about 6 contacts for face time or skype, You as a world traveling tech reporter probably have a few more contacts. Facetime has the same p2p limitations that skype has and the video is better.

+William Wen I have not tried hangouts. It was a long afternoon trying to get my wife's parents to understand the ipod mini and the face time button. I don't think we want to confuse them with another way to do things even if it is basically equivalent.
+Tau-Mu Yi I've almost completely stopped paying for Skype calls because of Google Voice, but that's not available outside the US yet. I use Hangouts some, too. I think Skype has huge value because of its active users, many with credit card payment mechanisms established, and its strong social graph.
My biggest complaint about Skype is the excruciatingly loud noise it makes when I'm placing a call. Why should it crank my laptop speakers to the point of distortion? Maybe when receiving a call the ringtone should be loud. I should probably check to see if this is configurable.
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