Skype Threatens Fring with Legal Action over Video Calling App

Is Fring a victim of too much popularity or a startup that neglected to follow technology licensing procedures? Just days after announcing that Apple had approved the company’s third-party video-calling application for the iPhone–running over AT&T Mobility’s 3G network in addition to WiFi networks–Fring said it has been forced to stop its interconnection to Skype, because Skype is threatening legal action.

Fring said it saw a huge spike in video calling after Apple approved its app. Fring claims Skype’s efforts to block its calls amounts to an “anti-competitive ambush,” Fierce reports.

Skype, however, said the problem is not popularity but that the company believes Fring is breaching its API Terms of Use and End User License Agreement. In a written statement, a Skype spokesperson said, “Skype is disappointed that an amicable resolution was not possible, but Fring’s decision to withdraw Skype functionality immediately was of its own choice. Skype encourages developers to build products that work with Skype in accordance with our various API licenses. However, Skype will rigorously protect is brand and reputation and those companies that do not comply with our terms will be subject to enforcement.”

Meanwhile, Fring said that since 2006 the company’s app has been available to both Fring users and third-party networks such as GoogleTalk, SIP, Twitter and, until now, Skype. “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,” said Avi Shechter, Fring’s co-founder and CEO.

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