Consumer Electronics Show: Skype to buy Qik

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Skype announced at the Consumer Electronics Show on Thursday that it plans to acquire Qik, a popular provider of mobile video services that let users capture and instantly share video.

Terms of the deal weren’t disclosed, but some reports put the price tag at $100 million.


“The Qik team has delivered exceptional video experiences for its mobile partners and millions of end users across a range of devices,” said Tony Bates, Skype’s chief executive.

Luxembourg-based Skype said that adding Qik, based in Redwood City, Calif., allows the company to add recording, sharing and storing capabilities to its product portfolio.

According to new data from TeleGeography Research on Thursday, roughly 20% of international voice traffic was Skype-to-Skype.

Cross-border traffic routed by Skype, the largest provider of Internet-based voice communications, is projected to grow by 45 billion minutes for the second half of 2010, which is still being tallied — that’s more than twice the volume added by all of the world’s phone companies combined.

TeleGeography analyst Stephan Beckert cautioned that international calling is only about 1% of many telecoms’ revenue, but ‘it’s clearly having a big impact,’ he said.

As of the end of 2010, Qik boasts more than 5 million users and is available on more than 200 mobile phones running Android, Apple’s iOS, Symbian, BlackBerry OS and Windows Mobile, and comes preloaded on an array of mobile handsets through partnerships with manufacturers and mobile networks.

‘Qik has worked very hard to solve complex problems that allow millions of people every day to take advantage of sharing their lives with those people who are most important to them,” said Vijay Tella, CEO of Qik. “Joining Skype allows Qik’s team to unite with Skype’s talented team to develop new and innovative products for our customers and partners.”

Mobile video chat competitor Tango’s CTO and founder Eric Setton said, ‘The Skype acquisition is a good thing for Qik and it further validates the massive opportunity for mobile video calling this year and beyond.... Skype has historically disregarded preload arrangements, but this move may signal a shift in their strategy.’

The transaction is expected to close this month.


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