Skype intros video calling for Mac; lets Mac and Windows users see each other with free video calls

Skype has released the beta version of its communications software, Skype for Mac 2.0, which gives any Mac user with an Internet connection the ability to make free video calls to anyone else on Skype™ regardless of whether they use the Windows or Mac platform. Skype’s new cross platform support allows its extensive international community of more than 113 million users to make free video calls to people across the globe using both Windows and Macintosh computers.

Mac users can now enjoy one-on-one video calls, viewed within the Skype window or on the full computer screen. Skype video for Mac also includes a small window for users to view how they appear to the person they are calling. Connecting seamlessly across Windows and Mac operating systems, Skype for Mac with video offers users free, high-quality video calling regardless of platform. This means that, for the first time ever, Mac users can connect with and view friends, family and colleagues using Windows without downloading any additional software.

“Skype’s goal is to make Internet calling streamlined and simple for everyone by providing innovative features and an intuitive design,” said Stefan Öberg, director of product management for Skype, in the press release. “Our community is made up of both Mac and Windows users. We couldn’t be more excited to bring these two groups together, literally face-to-face.”

With Skype for Mac 2.0 users enjoy completely free calls to other Skype users, no matter where they are. Calls to traditional and mobile phones can be made at low rates.

In order to make video calls Skype for Mac OS X 2.0 requires a Macintosh computer with Mac OS X v10.3.9 Panther or newer, a G4, G5, or Intel processor running at a minimum of 800 MHz, 512 MB RAM, 40 MB free disk space, and an Internet connection. In addition to the release of Skype for Mac OS X 2.0, Skype announced today the release of Skype for Mac OS X 1.5 Gold.

More info and download link here.


  1. Being on a computer and talking to someone on a land-line or cell phone for free = cool, useful but sooo “1998”.

    Being on a computer and talking to someone on a computer for free = it’s called, umm, “chat”, whether audio, video or just text.

    Skype is trying the repackage “chat” as something new now that they are not focussing on their original niche of computer-to-phone “calling”.

    They are merely trading “chat” with “call”, laying a different, older metaphor on top of a newer idea.

    This is rather like fools running about talking about “memes” when the word “idea” suffices…

    “If memes are the solution, what is the problem?”

    I say “If Skype is the solution, what is the problem?”

    Doesn’t iChat, say, suffice for video/audio/text chatting?

    Keep in mind the following:

    A third party paper analyzing the security and methodology of Skype was presented at Black Hat Europe 2006. [27]. It analysed Skype and found these things:

    – Heavy use of anti debugging techniques (typically found in malware)
    – Heavy use of obfuscation of code
    – Keeps chatting on the network, even when idle (even for non-supernodes)
    – Blind trust in anything else speaking Skype
    – Ability to build a parallel Skype network
    – Lack of privacy (Skype has the keys to decrypt sessions)
    – Heap overflow in Skype
    – Skype makes it hard to enforce a (corporate) security policy
    – “No way to know if there is/will be a backdoor”

  2. This is an excellent annoucement. As great as iChat AV is, most of my family still own PCs. I have to bring home my work laptop (PC) whenever I want to video conference with them. We already use Skype for video conferencing and now I can use it directly on my mac. Of course, I would greatly prefer it if Apple made a PC iChat AV client. But I guess it’s just one more reason to push people to switch.

  3. Skype is great. iChat is better in some ways, especially the video quality, but I can’t call land line phones with it and I can talk with people I know stuck with PCs without having to jump through hoops to get it all to work. Having more choices is best of all.

    I started using SkypeOut to cut down on the cell phone minutes I was using while managing a renovation project. I have only a cell phone and cable modem and use eFax. Skype works. I can even transfer files with it. A nice bonus.

    My girlfriend started using it to talk to her elderly parents in Bulgaria… EVERY day. They have a crappy PC and next to zero computer expertise, so Skype allowed us to set up FREE cross platform, intercontinental communication.

    Now we have friends and family from all over the world using Skype. Not too bad.

  4. Skype brought us Computer-to-Phone “telephony”.

    Computer-to-Computer “calling” (be it audio or video) is nothing new.

    Skype’s focus on Computer-to-Computer communication via text/audio/video is reinventing the wheel.

    That Skype offers it as a service too is great, but it’s not worth the hype that suggests it’s something entirely new.

    Again, they are merely repeating a mantra in which they replace “chat” white “call” in an attempt to “productize cross-platform niches”, “leverage revolutionary ROI”, “synthesize value-added networks” and “extend next-generation infrastructures” while trying to “drive intuitive markets” or other such bullshit:

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    Unless the person on the other end is on a land-line phone or cellphone, this is just plain old chatting.

    Calling it “calling” is just them attempting to “monetize granular deliverables” and “generate cross-media functionalities”…er, um…or some such b.s.

  5. its the pc / mac compatibility issues that this addresses thats important.

    a lot of people had getting ichat to work with different plaforms even when all users had an aim account.

    a lot of people now are using skype for work to video conference, as such it is sometimes a standard.

    this is a good upgrade, gees its free !!!!!!

  6. I used iChat to video chat with cousins Overseas in Europe for the last 2 years. Since they have PC’s, they first used AIM, then switched to Trillian, which worked fine except that it’s not free. We have been using skype now for the past 2 weeks and are very impressed. The sound quality is far superior, to iChat/Trillan and the video quality is better also. Unfortunately the video flow isn’t as smooth as iChat, it looks a bit like MSN’s but the image quality is far better than iChat in this case. I hope skype continues with developement of cross platform interoptability. Eventually we can say goodby to ALL the rest and have one standard for video/audio/typed instant messaging.

  7. I can’t believe all the negative energy here regarding Skype. It’s about the only application that supports decent video-to-video comms regardless of the platform. iChat can’t do that. Neither can MSN Messenger. Video and audio quality is excellent. Skype are making no claims about being revolutionary, they’re just doing what they do. And they’re very successful at it too. I wish Apple had the courage to recognise that iChat will always be a minority niche application unless they too provided it for other platforms. Yet more proprietary thinking…

  8. Believe it or not, iChat isn’t all that. It’s got quite a few problems. This latest version is, well, BUGGY. I’ve been in the same room with other Mac users and saw how poorly iChat will work.

    If someone like Skype wants to create an alternative that works better, it might kick Apple in the pants and motivate them to improve their programs. I use Adium, iChat AV3, as well as Y!M for the Mac, and haven’t yet tried Skype with video conferencing yet, but I’ve known that all of these programs could stand some improvements.

    I wish Skype the best of luck and appreciate the fact that they continue to update their Mac version.

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