Good News for Jajah; Bad News for Skype

Considering how much the paths of Skype and Jajah are crossing lately, there was some interesting news about each today - one good and one bad.

First, the bad news, as this is the one that has received the most attention for obvious reasons. Early this morning, a number of bloggers started commenting about an outage of service for Skype, something that hasn't happened before. As I'm writing now at night, it's still down, so this is a pretty big deal for Skype users.

I've been offline most of the day with a head cold, but will steer you to some of the blog coverage to read more - Tom Keating, Andy Abramson, Skype's Heartbeat webpage, and of course, Phil Wolff's ongoing coverage on Skype Journal.

Not the kind of news Skype users - myself included - want to hear, and of course it raises all kinds of questions about reliability, security, quality control, etc. Let's hope it's not serious, but there are certainly parties out there that revel in news like this.

On the upside, Jajah had some news of interest to my home market. It hasn't been widely reported, and it's not cited yet on Jajah's website, but they issued a press release today announcing the availability of Jajah in Canada. Basically, they've reached the point of recognizing Canada is a good market for them, especially in large urban centers like Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver, which have very cosmopolitan populations and lots of overseas calling to friends and family back home.

Canadians could make Jajah calls before, but now they're catering to our market by allowing callers to pay in Canadian currency. That's nice to see, and I'm sure it will help boost usage of their service. This is good for users of the service, but I have to say it adds complexity and even some risk for Jajah. The Canadian dollar has been very strong lately, and has been close to par with the U.S. With the recent stock market woes, our dollar has been plummeting and will probably be volatile for the foreseeable future. In a world where profits are made and lost on pricing increments of less than a penny, Jajah will have to be more mindful of these currency swings when setting rates for Canadian $ payment. That aside, it's good news for Canada - I just hope the word gets out! I haven't seen much evidence of that yet, but I'm sure the message will get out eventually.

I wasn't planning to say much about this news (even though I'm quoted in the press release), but the confluence of events with Skype's outage on the same day was too good to pass up.

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