Skype and Fring embroiled in VoIP battle

13 Jul 2010

With words like “coward” being bandied about, this can only be the beginning of what looks to be a nasty feud between VoIP company Skype and free mobile IM/VoIP service Fring.

Following Facetime for the iPhone 4, Fring updated its iPhone app for the iOS 4 to include the capability of two-way video calling not only over Wi-Fi but also over 3G.

Skype, one of the services that Fring provides through its mobile apps, was not happy about this, saying it breached Skype’s API Terms of Use and End User License Agreement, which it hoped to resolve amicably with Fring.

Skype’s VP of legal Robert Miller said in a blog post: “Over time, Fring’s misuse of our software was increasingly damaging our brand and reputation with our customers. On Friday, for example, Fring withdrew support for video calls over Skype on iOS 4 without warning, again damaging our brand and disappointing our customers, who have high expectations of the Skype experience.”

Fring was quick to respond with a blog post entitled ‘Skype Cowardly Blocks Fring’ and went on to attack what it saw as Skype’s fear of “open mobile communications”.

“Needless to say, we are very disappointed that Skype, who once championed the cause of openness is now trying to muzzle competition, even at the expense of its own users.

Skype alleges that Fring withdrew support for video calls over Skype on iOS 4 and chose to remove Skype functionality while Fring doesn’t actually say that Skype banned its use through the service, just that the VoIP company blocked video calling.

The end result is that Fring users on mobile devices that cannot get the official Skype app are suddenly left without Skype.