Skype Developers Competition - Jyve Gets Top Prize

Skype has taken a very enterprising approach to developing its developer ecosystem. According to today's news, the competition - which was launched in April - attracted over 100 developers, and has yielded more than 400 applications to help make Skype even more functional, and of course, sticky.

The winners were just announced, and Jyve's plug-in was deemed the top entry. Jyve allows you to do neat things like add Skype functionality to webpages or blogs - Skype virtual business cards, presence indicators, etc. Definitely another ease-of-use feature that will help make Skype more ubiquitous, which is the name of the game.

For all their efforts, Jyve gets a 2,000 Euro cash prize, but of course, the recognition is the real payoff. That said, Skype is only out of pocket 2,000 Euros, which makes this a pretty inexpensive R&D exercise. So, not only does Skype gain amazing traction with zero marketing spend, but they get a very full pipeline of cool, new apps and lots of highly motivated developers for next to nothing. You have to like this model! Now, the trick is to turn this into money. The concern of course, is that Skype becomes a superhighway for all these apps, and that the developers will be the ones making the money. Somehow, I don't think Skype will let that happen.

Skype has now adopted the trade-marked moniker of being the "Global Internet Communications Company", which is a far cry from the wild west roots of Kazaa. This is another sign that the IP voice space is quickly growing up. Just like rock stopped being about the music in the early 70s and became a business, Skype is finding itself surrounded by bigger players - some more corporate than others - and will start having to play by the rules sooner rather than later. I for one, hope they still can keep it fun and real.