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Skype Users Connect Via Santa Cruz Networks' API

Starting Wednesday, users of Skype Technologies VoIP service are being offered a free video, voice, and data-sharing service developed by Santa Cruz Networks. The vSkype Beta is presented in both peer-to-peer and server-based solutions.

When the beta testing period is concluded, Santa Cruz Networks said it plans to permit group videos of up to four users to continue free of charge. The service uses Skype's existing Instant Messaging feature as a platform and can accommodate up to 200 users at one time.

"The server approach offers multi-party communication," said Stuart Jacobson, Santa Cruz CEO, in an interview. He said his company is using its long experience with hundreds of thousands of networking users and bundling much of that experience into the vSkype offering.

Jacobson foresees introducing many features and plug-ins in the future. For business users, vSkype will enable users to share spreadsheets, presentations, whiteboards, and other business-oriented applications. The service enables archiving and recording capability of sessions as well as moderator control of numerous users. While many individual features are offered elsewhere, Jacobson believes Santa Cruz has uniquely compiled so many in one place.

"Skype can be a wild community," Jacobson noted. "So we have moderator control." The server-based segment of vSkype enables scores of users to be in the same session, which requires oversight.

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