Skype and Fring sever connection after legal threat

Mobile over internet developer Fring says it’s being forced to end its four years of Skype interconnectivity following the threat of legal action from Skype.

What it calls Skype’s ‘anti-competitive ambush’ follows Fring’s launch of mobile video calling on the iPhone 4.

Fring suspended support for third-party Skype after what it called a ‘huge’ jump in traffic – possibly implying that Skype’s service wasn’t up to the mark.

“We are disappointed that Skype, who once championed the cause of openness, is now attempting to muzzle competition, even to the detriment of its own users,” says said Avi Shechter, Fring’s co-founder and CEO.

“We apologize to our users for the impact of Skype’s bullying and we will be happy to reconnect with Skype once Skype reverses their decision.”

But Skype denies that it blocked Fring’s access, saying Fring took the decision by itself. It does, though, claim that Fring was misusing its software in a way which is in breach of Skype’s API Terms of Use and End User License Agreement.

We’ve been talking with Fring for some time to try to resolve this amicably. However, over time, Fring’s misuse of our software was increasingly damaging our brand and reputation with our customers,” says Robert Miller, Skype’s VP, legal.

“On Friday, for example, Fring withdrew support for video calls over Skype on iOS 4 without warning, again damaging our brand and disappointing our customers, who have high expectations of the Skype experience.”