Jaan Tallinn, Leading Skype Developer, Pledges Money in Latest Matrix Element-Based Instant Messaging Funding • The Register


As Microsoft redoubles its efforts to kill skype persuading users to chat with Teams, former Skype developer Jaan Tallinn has poured money into the latest round of funding for the open source Element instant messaging client.

Element, which provides a messaging app and contributes to the development of the Matrix open communications protocol, has raised $ 30 million in Series B funding from investors such as Protocol Labs and Metaplanet, the latter being a fund set up by Tallinn.

Tallinn, also partly responsible for the file-sharing app Kazaa, sold its shares in Skype when it was acquired by eBay in 2005 for $ 2.6 billion. eBay sold Skype in 2009 to an investment group which then sold the messaging platform to Microsoft in 2011 for $ 8.5 billion.

“Me and messaging go back a long way,” said Tallinn The register, “I am very committed to instant messaging and … platform neutral.”

Tallinn also spoke about the original peer-to-peer nature of Skype, the implementation of which did not lend itself too well to devices such as mobile phones, and gave credit to Microsoft for taking a centralized approach.

“I think it was the correct engineering decision for Microsoft,” he said. However, “I believe that the future of communication must be equal.

Ten years later, Microsoft would rather like its users to see Teams as their main chat application. However, it’s also committed to supporting Skype for a few more years (and no doubt further enraging users with more UI tweaks).

The open source matrix is ​​all about real-time communication and securing conversations with E2E encryption. Element provides what it describes as an “all-in-one secure chat app for teams, friends, and organizations,” although (other than a free personal tier) home and business users must pay a fee. subscription for the service.

Skype was originally a peer-to-peer service, but things are a bit more centralized nowadays. Matrix, on the other hand, is decentralized. It also has over 35 million addressable users and over 75,000 deployments. Not quite in the same league as Skype and Teams, but Matrix’s 190% growth last year is not to be sneezed at.

The funding announcement follows the announcement of the adoption by the entire German healthcare system of matrix-based communications.

As to what the money will be spent on, “Element’s funding means there is a significant and ongoing investment in the Matrix protocol, which is of huge benefit to the entire Matrix ecosystem,” Matthew said. Hodgson, CEO of Element and Technical Co-Founder of Matrix.

Amandine Le Pape, COO of Element and co-founder of Matrix, insisted that the company did not have to have to take new investment, but wanted the Element app to be ready for mainstream consumers.

Noting that refugees like WhatsApp might find things a bit complicated, Le Pape said The register that plans were underway “to improve the experience and make it simpler”, with the release of community management tools such as Spaces.

Hodgson highlighted “Three Big Strategic Initiatives” expected from the investment. These include a doubling of peer-to-peer technology, decentralized end-to-end encrypted audio and video conferencing, and the creation of features to organize content.

And Tallinn? Despite his Skype intelligence, he told us that other than a few architectural discussions, he had no intention of digging into the code. He did, however, consider hiring a team to see “if we can do something like integrating emails, for example, without going to disrupt the work of the core team.”

Other email providers, such as Slack, have suggested putting a knife into email, but Tallinn takes a different view: “It seems like really hard to kill.” He said that the claims of email removal platforms should be “taken with [a] very large grain of salt. “

Receiving emails through Matrix is ​​also a Google Summer of Code project – the code is progressing here.

The investment also comes against a backdrop of increased demand for remote working and growing user awareness of online privacy and the fact that maybe, maybe, some of the tech giants could be a bit scary when it comes to surveillance capitalism. ®


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