Skype buys Qik to boost video calling quality

Internet telephony company Skype has agreed to acquire Qik, a provider of mobile video capturing and sharing software and services.

Although terms of the acquisition will not be disclosed, Skype expects the transaction to close by the end of the month.

Qik, headquartered in Redwood City, California, provides video capturing and sharing services to over 200 mobile phones across the Android, iPhone, Symbian, Blackberry and Windows Mobile platforms.

The acquisition is aimed at helping Skype boost its video capabilities by adding recording, sharing and storing capabilities to its product set.

Skype plans to make use of the engineering expertise behind Qik’s Smart Streaming technology, which optimises video transmission over wireless networks.

Skype’s software enables an estimated 25% of the world’s international long-distance voice calling minutes, and about 40% of those Skype-to-Skype calls are happening over video, according to Tony Bates, Skype’s chief executive officer.

“Qik’s deep engineering capabilities and strong mobile relationships will be an impressive complementary fit with Skype,” he said.

Skype and Qik said they will work together to provide a richer, more integrated experience that will allow people globally to store as well as share experiences in real-time video across different platforms.

News of the acquisition comes hard on the heels of an announcement that television makers Sony and Vizio have joined Panasonic and Samsung in producing Skype-enabled TV sets.

Skype announced a year ago that it was working with Panasonic to allow people to use a webcam with built-in microphone to make video calls via their sets, in a move considered by many to up the ante between Skype and traditional telcos in the competition for customers. Market analyst TeleGeography reports that Skype is growing faster in the battle for international calls.

Warwick Ashford, Computer Weekly

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