LAS VEGAS--If you can't beat 'em, buy 'em. In the weeks leading up to CES, we guessed that Skype would take two-way video calling to Andorid phones.
What we didn't expect was that it'd do so by snatching up the competition. At a press conference, Skype announced that it acquired Qik, a rival that became well known when it was preloaded onto the HTC Evo with its front-facing camera.
Tony Bates, Skype's new CEO (about 17 days new, Bates says), wouldn't disclose Qik's purchase price (it's rumored to be a cool $100 million), nor the integration plan going forward, but he did say that Skype plans to work together with Qik. So for now, we're not certain if, when, or how Skype will suck Qik into the Skype brand.
Bates did not discuss the aborted two-way video-chatting tablet demo we almost saw yesterday at Nvidia's press conference.
Skype's other announcements included:
Group video calling on the desktop for up to 10 parties, for consumers and the enterprise; $8.99 per month
Skype TV: Skype inks deals with Blu-ray makers and Sony Bravia, Vizio VIA TVs. A reworked version of the SkypeKit API will get Skype in other devices--like an OnStar car dashboard and the Pandachip nanny camera.
On the humanitarian end, Skype CEO Bates envisions Skype in classrooms and in the developing world, connecting aid workers, for instance, with communities in need
Skype would not comment on its impending IPO.
For the stat-happy among you, Skype's Bates rattled off many. Skype claims it handles 25 percent of international calling minutes and 190 billion minutes per year.