The moment Oprah logged onto Skype, there was no turning back for the voice over IP (VoIP) company. If they are to deliver on their promises of free and low-cost voice and video calling over the Internet, they must find a way to deal with the large influx of users, millions of people around the world. One way to do that is to expand, and their announcement yesterday of their acquisition of Qik, a company that specializes in video calling software, may just be the beginning.
Qik provides software for over 200 mobile phones and works on a variety of mobile operating systems, including Android, iOS (which powers the iPhone), Symbian, Blackberry OS, and Windows Mobile. It gives mobile phones with video cameras the ability to record, share, and preserve video quickly and easily. In particular, the capability to share live streaming video as it is recording was undoubtedly attractive to Skype.
On Skype’s blog, CEO Tony Bates explained the reasoning behind the acquisition.
“Together, we’ll focus on providing great products that will allow people around the world to share experiences in real-time video across different platforms, as well as storing those moments so they can be viewed later.”
Apple’s newest iOS version supports video chat, and Google’s upcoming version of Android for tablets (codenamed Honeycomb) will also add similar functionality. If Skype is to survive in the long run, they must find a place in the mobile market, and this acquisition is the first step.
At CES this week, Bates also announced a new feature in Skype enabling group video calling, where up to 10 Skype users can hold a video conference in real time.
The announcement was issued by the Public Relations company for Skype, Kaplow PR.