The two big problems with Skype Meetings

Angus Kidman 6 July 2016

SkypeForMeetings

Microsoft's latest attempt at business communications misses the mark.

So Microsoft just announced free Skype meetings, which lets small businesses conduct multi-person video conferencing using the comms platform which it acquired way back in 2011. There are two big problems with this idea.

Firstly, it feels like it's arriving very late. To pick a single example: Google Hangouts has let you do this since 2013. Yes, there's still a lot of work to be done with that platform. I tend to shun Hangouts because they crash Chrome more often than not, while Google keeps being distracted by irrelevancies like Google Spaces. Nonetheless, it seems odd that a company with Microsoft's extensive resources took this long to launch a competitor.

Secondly, and more immediately, right now Skype for Meetings only works in one country: the USA. Seems like Microsoft missed the memo about it being a global economy. If you try and log in to the tool from anywhere else, you see a cheerful but unhelpful message saying "This service isn't available in your region yet - but we're working on it". There's no announced timeframe for when that might happen.

It's not unusual for services to be rolled out in a single country before spreading more broadly. For instance, Google didn't get around to launching YouTube Red in Australia until May this year, some 19 months after its US launch. But it seems particularly odd in the case of Skype, which is still largely developed in Estonia, an awfully long way from Microsoft's Redmond HQ.

Angus Kidman's Findings column looks at new developments and research that help you save money, make wise decisions and enjoy your life more. It appears Monday through Friday on finder.com.au.

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