Skype, the popular free voice and video calling company, announced the acquisition of Qik, a mobile video sharing service.
The company's CEO, Tony Bates, made the announcement at a press conference at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.
While the financial and integration details of the deal were not disclosed, Bates said Qik complimented what Skype does and the direction it is headed. The mobile two-way video chat service company, which is available on several smartphones and numerous social media platforms, is Skype's first ever acquisition.
We think Qik has great technology. Not just on video, but they have some other great assets as well in capturing video and how to get in the cloud. There is lots of great technology there and they have tremendous traction with a growing user base, Bates said.
Bates said Skype wouldn't set up a road map for the future integration of Qik until later in the year. Qik already has partnerships with telecom providers such as T-Mobile and Verizon.
Along with the Qik acquisition, Bates announced group video chat services for Skype. The service, which will cost $8.99 per month for one user, will allow for 10 people to talk together at the same time.
Skype also announced the introduction of SkypeKit, which will allow for developers to bring the voice and video calling service to multiple devices, not just the traditional PCs and mobile phones. As an example, Bates showed off a prototype that had Skype on a OnStar communication device.
We're looking to connect everyone on the planet on whatever device they use everyday, Bates said.
Bates also touted Skype's increasing presence in the mobile community as well as in video. He said the company introduced a two-way video calling iPhone app on New Year's Eve, and already, there have been one million video calls having used it.
Mobile and video are clearly the next frontier for communications. It is a major area of focus for us, Bates said.
According to Bates, Skype is the largest international calling provider in the world. Its service represents 25 percent of international calling and its growing four times faster than the rest of the telecom providers combined.
Bates also addressed Skype's recent outage, saying the incident taught the company a lot about itself and how to prevent future incidents from happening. He said the company realized how important Skype was to the lives of its customers, and hearing various stories about how people connect with it, touched them.