FaceTime vs. Skype

By: Xander Creed

History of FaceTime

FaceTime was first announced by Steve Jobs, who was the CEO of Apple at the time. The name 'FaceTime' was bought by Apple from the company FaceTime Communications, who after selling the name, changed to Actiance. This announcement took place on June 7, 2010 at a Keynote presentation for iPhone 4. FaceTime was announced for the Mac OS X systems on October 20, 2010 at the 'Back to the Mac' media event. Announcement for the iPad 2 came at a later date, March 2, 2011.

February 24, 2011 was the official release date of FaceTime when it came out of beta and was available on the Mac App Store. The original sales price of FaceTime was $0.99 although Apple claims to have wanted to provide a free service. But, there was a law in place that bans companies from providing users with an unadvertised new feature of an already sold product without some severe accounting actions. Users can still download the free beta, but there is no reason because FaceTime comes with all Apple products OS X 10.7 and higher. FaceTime required Wi-Fi connection to work until iOS 6. Now, users can connect either on 3G or LTE networks.

How Facetime Works

Two users enjoy FaceTime
  • Requirements: iPhone 4 or later, fourth generation of iPod Touch or later, second generation of iPad or later, or a Mac computer with OS X
  • Unable to be used with non-Apple products
  • Automatically uses the highest quality setting available
  • Designed to be a close source application
  • Can change a phone call to FaceTime (only if both callers have Apple products)

Pros of Facetime

Cons of Facetime

  • Easy signup, can use either phone number or email address
  • Easy connection
  • Good user interface
  • As simple as a phone call
  • Cannot FaceTime more than one other person
  • Uses 3 megabytes of data per minute
  • Some countries do not allow phones to be bought with FaceTime (United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia as of October 2010)
  • Must own Apple Device

History of Skype

Skype was created by Janus Friis from Denmark and Niklas Zennström from Sweden. They founded Skype in 2003. The creation of Skype software was done by Ahti Heinla, Priit Kasesalu, and Jaan Tallinn. Skype's first beta was released on August 29, 2003. After numerous buy outs and sellings, Microsoft Corporation bought Skype. Microsoft absorbed Skype into their business, and the deal was done by October 13, 2011. The buying of Skype allowed Microsoft to get rid of their old service, Windows Live Messaging.

Skype previously offered a 'Premium' bundle which can with extra perks for users who were willing to pay more. Some of these perks included conference calls with up to 10 people, better customer service and removal of advertisements. However, in the summer of 2014 Skype removed the Premium option because Skype allows group calls for free users too.

How Skype Works

  • Users have an individual Skype Name
  • Allows use of both instant messaging, video chat, and telephone calls
  • Allows status updates
  • Keeps a Contacts list
  • Allows group chats

Pros of Skype

  • Allows conference calls
  • Chat function
  • Installation on all computers
  • Educational uses
  • Allows international calls

Cons of Skype

  • Emergency calls not support or very limited
  • Unable to fully delete account
  • Minor security risks

My Comparison

In my opinion, I prefer to use FaceTime. Although Skype offers many features, such as conference calls, I believe that FaceTime still offers a superior connection. Having an iPhone and iPad myself, the requirement of having Apple products is very easy to meet. FaceTime allows users to easily place calls and an instant connection with the other user. Skype offers many important features, but the features of Skype can be done by FaceTime or similar Apple applications. After using both Skype and FaceTime, I favor FaceTime. Both products are of good quality, but the user interface of FaceTime puts it over the edge. The ease and accessibility of FaceTime is what makes FaceTime the better option.

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