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MySpace, Skype to partner for voice function on IM client

The News Corp.-owned social-networking site is set to announce that voice chat on its instant messaging client will be powered by eBay's Skype.

MySpace and Skype are set to announce on Wednesday that the eBay-owned telephony client will be providing voice chat services for the News Corp.-owned social network's instant messaging client, MySpaceIM. Financial terms of the partnership were not disclosed.

Through this deal, MySpace users will be able to link their profiles to Skype accounts, and will be able to place voice chat calls through the MySpaceIM client or the Skype client to both Skype and MySpace members--but if your MySpace profile is set to "private," you will be exempt from calls from people who aren't on your friends list. The service will be available in the 20 countries where MySpace has "localized communities."

A joint release for the two companies emphasized the sheer number of users that this will encompass: "With more than 110 million monthly active MySpace users and 220 million Skype registered users around the world, this partnership connects two of the most popular communications platforms on the Internet to create the world's largest online, voice-connected community."

But at the same time, only 25 million out of MySpace's 110 million active users have downloaded the MySpaceIM client. And neither company is at the top of its game. MySpace still leads the social-networking field in membership and traffic, but has lost its place in the spotlight to fast-growing rival Facebook. And Skype hasn't exactly turned out to be a real winner for eBay, with some critics saying that the two are mismatched.

Presumably, this will be the "MySpace announcement" that is rumored to take place Wednesday at the Web 2.0 Summit in San Francisco. It was originally thought that this announcement would unveil a developer platform for MySpace akin to Facebook's, but credible sources quickly began to hint to multiple news outlets, including CNET, that this would not be the case--a source for gossip blog Valleywag, in fact, indicated that the announcement would deal with the MySpaceIM client.