Internet Telephony Shoot-Out: Skype vs. SIPphone! "There are few organizations more loathed than the telephone company. Let's face it – none of us like forking over our hard-earned cash every month just to use the phone. Well, how much would it be worth to you to be able to call your friends and family for free by using the Internet?
Granted, this is already possible via rudimentary VoIP (Voice over IP) services, but they've been burdened by poor sound quality, dropped calls, and difficult interfaces. Now, two new entrants are poised – head-to-head – to dominate this burgeoning market. Interestingly enough, both come from developers with a successful track record in other arenas – including easy-to-use Linux, MP3s, and peer-to-peer networking.
The first, the new Skype service, has been created by the developers of the popular file-sharing system Kazaa. It uses Kazaa's peer-to-peer technology, along with your PC's sound card, to create an easy-to-use, IM-style VoIP application that's fast and sounds good. Because it's based on a proprietary protocol, however, it won't interoperate with other services.
The second service, the new SIPphone, comes from Michael Robertson, who founded MP3.com and then gave us Lindows, the easy-to-use Linux OS variant, PC and software distribution system. Unlike Skype, the SIPphone is a stand-alone appliance – plug it into your broadband router and you're off. Because it's based on the emerging SIP protocol – which stands for Session Initiation Protocol - the SIPphone can interoperate with other SIP devices."