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  • Post published:13/05/2021
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Fring claims Skype blocked access

Late last week, Fring released a new version of their iPhone application that brought two-way video calling to iPhone 4.

The new Fring app generated a lot of buzz as it allowed users to make make video calls over 3G unlike FaceTime, which works only over Wi-Fi.

And since Fring had introduced the two-way video calling feature on the Android and Symbian platforms as well, which means that users can also video-chat with friends who do not own an iPhone 4, which is also one of the limitations of FaceTime currently.

However, some of our readers had pointed out that Skype support had suddenly disappeared from the latest version of Fring’s iPhone app. The company had acknowledged the issue in a blog post where they had noted that their networks were experiencing a strain due to the huge jump in video calling. Fring further noted that they had disabled Skype as a temporary measure to free up network capacity. 

However, it now appears that Fring users looking forward to calling their contacts on Skype may have to wait longer. In a recently published media release, the company has accused Skype of “anti-competitive ambush” and has stated that the popular mobile VoIP company has refused to restore connectivity with Fring and have threatened legal action. Fring has issued the following statement:

“Since its foundation in 2006, fring’s rich mobile communications have been available to both fring users and open 3rd party networks including GoogleTalk, SIP, Twitter and, until now, Skype. However, despite fring expanding its network capacity over the last days to serve its enlarged user base, Skype is refusing to allow fring to restore connectivity to Skype. Accordingly, fringsters will no longer be able to communicate with their Skype friends the way they want.”

Fring CEO Avi Shechter has indicated that connectivity with Skype shall be restored once the company has resolved its differences with Skype. He says:

“We are disappointed that Skype, who once championed the cause of openness, is now attempting to muzzle competition, even to the detriment of its own users. We apologize to our users for the impact of Skype’s bullying and we will be happy to reconnect with Skype once Skype reverses their decision.”

However, Skype has refuted these allegations. The company has stated that Fring’s claims are untrue and that Skype has been in talks with Fring for quite sometime over the latter’s compliance with the Skype Terms of Use and EULA. According to Robert Miller, the VP, Legal at Skype, Fring’s sudden decision to withdraw support to Skype last week had damaged his company’s brand and reputation. Muller responded to the controversy on Skype’s blog:

“Fring was using Skype software in a way it wasn’t designed to be used – and in a way which is in breach of Skype’s API Terms of Use and End User License Agreement. We’ve been talking with Fring for some time to try to resolve this amicably.

However, over time, Fring’s mis-use 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.

[…]In this case, however, there is no truth to Fring’s claims that Skype has blocked it. Fring made the decision to remove Skype functionality on its own.”

Fring is yet to respond to these claims. We shall keep you updated on this front. 

[via Fring, Skype]

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