06 June 2005

I love it when I'm right


I just wish it would happen a little more often.

I walked into the Apple store in Bangkok's Siam Discovery Center about a year ago and asked for a USB headset. "Don't have any." "I think you should get some — Internet telephony is about to get really big." "I don't think so."

Skype just passed 100 million downloads.

Hah. So there.

Seriously, Skype is going to be transformative in places like Cambodia. Not in Cambodia itself, mind you, since lowering the cost of international calls also lowers the cut which goes to the minister of telecommunications, and thus VOIP is, technically, illegal here. But in other places, yes. E-mail cut message turnaround time to the US from weeks to, at most, a day. Now it's possible to have real-time voice communication for a price local businesses can afford. This means, for instance, that a Cambodian company can set up a number in the US for order-taking. It's one important piece of puzzle for companies here that want to sell to rich markets. And for companies that sell virtual products, that's great. For others, though, shipping charges remain a big problem. It costs much more, and safe delivery is far less certain, here in Cambodia than next door in Thailand. And the final piece — credit cards — will arrive here soon.