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Why is Skype not in Canada?

By Paul Jay, CBCNews.ca. Yesterday, after several back and forth emails with Chaim Haas, a public relations representative acting on behalf of Skype, I wrote a story on the Skype for iPhone application, and its non-appearance on Canada's iTunes stores.

Since then, a number of commenters on yesterday's story have wondered aloud what the reason is, beyond Haas's comment that it was because of patent-licence restrictions related to Skype, not Apple.

I asked Rogers Wireless spokesperson Elizabeth Hamilton whether Rogers, as the sole carrier offering the iPhone in Canada through its Rogers and Fido brands, knew anything about the lack of availability. Here's her response:

"Paul, sorry I have nothing to add - Rogers is not involved in the development of this application. The Apple App store is governed by Apple and developers have added thousands of applications to it. The questions about what application goes into the App store are best responded to by the developers and/or Apple."

I've put a call through to Apple Canada's spokesperson and will post his response when he gets back to me - although since Haas said it isn't an Apple issue I'm not sure what the company will have to say.

Which means a fishing expedition may be in order. Unlike trademarks, which are easily searchable by the name of the product, searching for patents appears to be more art than science. (The Canadian Intellectual Property Office has a searchable database of more then 1.9 million patent documents.) If anyone knows an easy way to navigate this, feel free to post a comment; otherwise we'll have to see if we can unravel this mystery one search at a time.

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Kevin

Ottawa

Net2Phone launched a patent infringement suit against Skype in '06... I've been unable to find any information about it being resolved. Note that Net2Phone lists the patents that they hold on their website. Not sure if this is why...

Posted April 1, 2009 07:52 AM

Ari

Since it's inception I have subscribed to the US Apple Store. And it's precisely for these reasons that I do.

I subscribe using a US Visa debit card, with a US mailing address. All can be gotten with a simple morning's work at Bank of America and any border mailing service. Set your credit card billing address to your US mailing address and put a few hundred dollars in the debit account and you are away.

Apple iTunes Canada quite often takes weeks if not months to post the same content as the US store, (songs, TV shows, Movies and applications) and in this global market, there's no way on earth I am waiting for distributors in canada to bring product to market late just so they can take a piece of the pie...what a ridiculous notion.

I've a number of family and friends up with US based cards, and it allows us to shop online in many US based services that won't otherwise sell to Canadians. I would encourage more people to do it, so that Canadian retailers learn and understand that they can no longer charge us more, to bring product to market late.

Posted April 2, 2009 03:11 PM

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