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Nokia In Talks With Carriers About Billing For Skype – Pandora’s Box is Open; Is Messaging Next?

Unwired View has this excerpt from Nokia’s Elop (which is more detailed than the earlier transcript reported):

So, thank you for your question about Skype. Indeed, Microsoft did buy the Skype company as part of the ecosystem that comes with Windows Phone and Windows and so forth, so that’s quite correct. The feedback from operators is they don’t like Skype, of course, because for those operators who have a traditional wire-line business, traditional telephone business, it could take away from revenues.

And, so what MSFT has done – and we’ve been part of these conversations as well with operators – is as you correctly say, if operator doesn’t want Skype installed on a Windows Phone from Nokia or any other company, then the operator can make that decision.

Now, you’re right: it can be circumvented. But of course it’s on all Android devices, it’s on iPhone devices, it’s on iPad, it’s on all of those devices. So in fact what we’re doing with the operators is turning it around into an advantage. Instead of them just complaining about Skype on Android or Skype on iPhone, with Microsoft and Nokia, we can have a conversation that says “ok there, is this Skype thing, is there a different type of partnership we can do that recognizes that voice over IP like Skype is coming no matter what, but maybe we can do something creative that generates incremental revenue for you.” Some operators are looking at bundling Lumia, Skype and their own services with higher-bandwidth allotments to actually charge the consumer more and generate more revenue for them. So by actually controlling the Skype asset, we can begin a conversation about how we can have a better Skype-based relationship, which was impossible for operators to do before. So it’s actually quite a bit more advanced than whether operators like or don’t like Skype; they actually want to engage in a conversation about what does this mean and how could we do something that we couldn’t do before. Thank you.

Presumably the next step would be that the same charges could apply to Android and iOS. And while we’re at it, all of those texts that carriers are not collecting on can now be collected just by charging for GChat, iMessage and Messenger. See where this is going? Not sure if this is Microsoft’s doing or involvement or just a reality check that it is headed here so Skype may as well play nice and try to get a foothold from the start but we’re all going to be paying more. The words ‘net neutrality’ keep ringing in my head too…