Skype Expands Video Capabilities With Qik Buy


Skype on Thursday entered into a definitive agreement to acquire Qik, the mobile video services specialist. The acquisition gives Skype added video recording, sharing and storing capabilities, and also the engineering behind Smart Streaming, a Qik technology that makes video transmission over wireless networks easier.

Financial terms of the acquisition, which is expected to close this month, were not disclosed. A report in Business Insider, citing anonymous sources, put the figure at $150 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 CEO, in a statement. "Qik's deep engineering capabilities and strong mobile relationships will be an impressive complementary fit with Skype."

Bates and Skype did not provide additional information on how the Qik technology would be integrated into Skype's platform, or what will become of the Qik brand.

Qik, founded in 2006, numbers 60 employees and is located in Redwood City, Calif., with an office in Moscow. According to the Qik company blog, it ended 2010 with 5 million users, up from 600,000 a year earlier.

Both Skype and Qik name influential Silicon Valley figures Marc Andreesen and Ben Horowitz as investors.

Skype, which last summer filed a Form S-1 in anticipation of its initial public offering, has been looking to up its stake among both consumers and business customers alike.

Among other major moves made in 2010, Skype launched a formal channel program to create a network of partners interested in incorporating Skype in networking and infrastructure deployments and evangelizing the brand.

The acquisition of Qik gives Skype far richer capabilities, executives from Skype and Qik said Thursday.

"Qik has worked very hard to solve complex problems that allow millions of people everyday to take advantage of sharing their lives with those that are most important to them," said Vijay Tella, Qik's CEO, in a statement. "Joining Skype allows Qik's team to unite with Skype's talented team to develop new and innovative products for our customers and partners."

According to TeleGeography Research, Skype software accounts for nearly 25 percent of the world's international calling minutes. Bates added that 40 percent of Skype-to-Skype calls use video.

Skype made a number of other announcements in line with CES this week. It unveiled Skype Group Video Calling, a premium video service that connects 10 users to a video call from anywhere and costs $8.99 a month for just one of the users. It also launched partnerships with Sony and Panasonic for Skype-integrated Blu-ray players, and with Vizio for Skype-integrated TVs.