Earlier this week, a gentleman named Charlie Paglee received a Skype call from a colleague in China -- nothing out of the ordinary, except for the fact that this particular call was coming from an unofficial, homemade Skype client. Paglee, who cofounded the VoIP startup Vozin Communications, claims that the Chinese friend he spoke with is part of a team that has successfully reverse-engineered the Skype protocol, possibly paving the way for a series of third-party clients that would delight consumers but provide no small amount of frustration to Skype-owner eBay. Although this unlicensed client is currently only able to perform peer-to-peer calling -- presence, instant messaging, and super node features have not yet been implemented -- it seems to be only a matter of time before the engineers have a more robust demo available for public download (they're supposedly shooting for an August release). And since all of this work is going on in China, eBay has no legal means of shutting down the client's development, but even if they did, it's probably already too late -- now that the cat is out of the bag, it's pretty clear that an open-source Skype client is inevitable, and that eBay's future business plans will have to take that reality into account.

[Via GigaOm]

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Skype's been cracked?