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Video Conferencing Developer Allows More Free Conference Participants

August 12, 2014

As video conferencing becomes more prominent through the business and consumer sectors, organization and individuals are always looking for the most cost-effective ways to communicate in groups. Among its sea of competitors, now one video conferencing software developer has released its restrictions on how many people can connect through its program at a single time.

Street Wise Tech reported last week that Skype, the developer of its communications software of the same name, has long allowed users to communicate through video conferencing with up to three participants for free. Any more than that, and users would have to begin to purchase extended features through its Premium service. Although the prices it offered were arguably reasonable compared to other services on the market, the rise of Google Hangouts, which allows more users to connect with each other for free, has apparently caused Skype to rethink its strategy.

It has retooled its limitations and now allows up to 10 participants to communicate through a single Skype video conferencing session. This, obviously, will lessen the monetary burden on businesses and individuals who use Skype regularly for audio and video communications via the Internet. But readers may wonder whether it is too little and too late for Skype to regain a following of committed users. Is it only saving itself from further decline as Google Hangouts continues to attract users with its free services?

The rise of Google Hangouts is evident through the amount of attention businesses are paying to linking their own products with the conferencing service. Earlier this year, TMC wrote about the Vidyo product that completes a gateway from H.264 systems to the Hangout environment. That product is also expanding from its original incarnation to include Microsoft Lync which Vidyo indicates will be available by November this year.

Links between companies such as this may spell the downfall for Skype and a continued rise for Google Hangouts. Whatever the reason for Skype's switch, it will continue to need to fight for users because the market is not letting it be the only player on the block, and it is offering alternatives that work well for a majority of users—alternatives that are obviously attracting the attention of other private sector players.

Edited by Maurice Nagle

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