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Fring removes Skype functionality, then says Skype blocked it

There's a minor blogstorm brewing around the relationship between Internet calling powerhouse Skype and mobile chat service Fring. The two companies have been attacking each other on their blogs today over missing Skype functionality in Fring. They both agree that Fring's iPhone 4 two-way video calling feature, which used Skype, no longer works.

Here's where it gets messy, though. Fring says Skype blocked its access to the Skype API and then threatened to sue. In a press release, Fring calls the Skype team "cowards," and alleges anti-competitive behavior. For its part, Skype says that Fring removed the Skype functionality itself, and that Fring was also using Skype's APIs in ways that violate the terms of use. According to Skype's Robert Miller, "o ver time, Fring's misuse of our software was increasingly damaging our brand and reputation with our customers."

Skype's users don't seem to be on its side, here. In the comments on the Skype blog, most of the users are complaining that Skype hasn't released its own client with all of Fring's features, especially since Android and Windows Mobile support is very limited. When you build a business that depends on someone else's software, though, you can't throw a fit when you have to abide by the terms of use. Fring might have a better product, but that doesn't make them right.

It'll be interesting to see how this little back-and-forth proceeds, and whether Skype functionality returns to Fring in the future. Here's hoping the two companies can resolve their differences for the benefit of their users.

Tags: blocked, controversy, fring, skype, video calling, VideoCalling, voip

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