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CES: Skype acquiring mobile video expert Qik

Mobile video expert Qik will flesh out Skype's software for Net-based chat.

Skype, a powerhouse in the area of voice and video chat over the Net, said today it's acquiring Qik, a mobile video specialist.

The move stands to expand what Skype can mobile phones. Today it's got apps for voice chat, but Qik brings video to the party with applications that run today on Android, iPhone, Symbian, Blackberry, and Windows Mobile.

"Together, Skype and Qik will focus on providing a richer, more integrated experience that will allow people globally to share experiences in real-time video across different platforms, as well as store those moments so they can be viewed anytime later," Skype said in a statement. (Click here for a post on the announcement from CES.)

Video chat is increasingly important as phone makers add front-facing cameras for video chat and 4G networks add at least theoretical faster data-transfer speeds. At the CES show this week, many demonstrations feature video chat--including Google's upcoming Honeycomb version of Android with the feature apparently built in.

Apple's newer version of iOS also enables video chat, though Qik doesn't have an app for that platform. So although Skype has power and a strong subscriber base, it also has big competitors.

The acquisition also has ramifications for Skype's technology assets and for moving beyond just communications.

"The acquisition of Qik helps accelerate Skype's leadership in video by adding recording, sharing, and storing capabilities to Skype's product portfolio. Through this acquisition, Skype will also be able to leverage the engineering expertise that is behind Qik's Smart Streaming technology, which optimizes video transmission over wireless networks," the companies said.

Qik, headquartered in Redwood City, Calif., has 60 employees. Terms of the deal weren't disclosed.