Skype makes quick exit from US Ovi Store

Internet telephony player Skype has demonstrated the importance of its newfound relationship with Verizon Wireless, by pulling the Symbian version of its VoIP app from the US Ovi Store.

Just last week, Nokia highlighted the power of consumer brands, by hopping into bed with Skype to make the client available to some 200 million smartphone users worldwide, allowing users to make VoIP calls possible over either a wifi or mobile data connection. The app is downloadable for free from the Ovi Store, but should also work on Symbian devices from other manufacturers, like Sony Ericsson.

However, the app is not available to Ovi Store browsers in the US, presumably because of the recently struck deal between Skype and US carrier Verizon.

From March, US consumers will be able to get Skype on a wide range of Verizon phones, including the BlackBerry Storm 9530, Storm2 9550, Curve 8330, Curve 8530, 8830 World Edition and Tour 9630 smartphones, as well as Droid by Motorola, Eris by HTC and the Motorola Devour.

The service will allow users to make and receive unlimited free Skype-to-Skype voice calls and send and receive instant messages.

Commenting on the announcement at the time, Dario Talmesio, senior analyst at Informa Telecoms & Media, said: “The Skype/Verizon announcement demonstrates that mobile operators are beginning to change their attitude towards VoIP providers, they have gone from blocking to managing what they consider to be an issue. However, the majority of mobile operators have yet to make a firm decision, but market forces are such that mobile operators can’t avoid Internet-based VoIP.”

The Skype app can still be installed and used on Symbian handsets in the US, it’s just not available as a direct download from the Ovi Store.

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  1. Avatar Adam Tarshis 08/03/2010 @ 4:49 pm

    I don’t get the point being made here. Verizon announces a deal with Skype that allows Skype to be used on a wide variety of phones, and this is meant to explain why Skype isn’t available on the US Ovi site?

    Are you trying to say that this is protect Verizon’s Skype deal by making it harder for non Verizon subscribers to get Skype?

    Are you trying to say Verizon doesn’t want their own users to install Skype via Ovi?

    As you use the word “presumably”, my guess it you haven’t done much research.

    • Avatar James Middleton 10/03/2010 @ 2:12 pm

      Hi Adam. Well, Skype and Verizon are being pretty quiet on this one, only saying the move was made for ‘marketing’ reasons, whatever they might be.

      I thought it was interesting in light of the ongoing battle for perceived ownership of the end user. Many operators, Verizon included, are running their own app stores, which they want to be the main point of contact for the customer when customising their handset. Nokia is making some enemies here by running its own app store – Ovi.

      Yes, I’m guessing here, that Verizon had a word with Skype and told it to pull the app from Ovi, which really highlights how weak Nokia’s foothold is in the US market. In Europe it would be a different story. But we’ll probably never find out if that was the case.

      Here’s what Skype said to me: “Skype has made a decision in the United States to not promote the Skype for Symbian app through the Ovi Store. We did this so that we could drive more attention to the recently announced Skype and Verizon Wireless agreement. This was a marketing decision — plain and simple.”

  2. Avatar kasey farrar 13/03/2010 @ 3:52 am

    The availability of apps in Ovi Store is determined by the publisher, not by Nokia. Skype for Symbian is available for download in most markets via Ovi Store by Nokia and at in the US.

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