Skype acquires Qik, expands into live video

Internet calling firm Skype said today it has acquired real-time video startup Qik for an undisclosed price. Rumors have pegged the deal at $100 million.

Tony Bates, chief executive of Skype, announced the deal today at a press conference at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. He said the Qik service, which offers live broadcasting to the web, is a complement to Skype’s video calling service and that Skype wants to move into both intimate and everyday communications experiences. He declined to comment on the rumored price or the integration plans.

Bates has been CEO for just 70 days. During that time, in December, Skype had a serious full-day outage, resulting in a loss of service for tens of millions of its users. Bates apologized again for that incident, said the company did a full post-mortem on it and shared the details on the web, and offered compensation of free minutes to its users. Skype to Skype calls are free on the internet, but Skype makes money by charging a fee if you make a Skype call to someone with standard phone service.

According to market researcher TeleGeography, Skype is now the largest international calling provider, accounting for 25 percent of all the world’s international calling minutes in 2010, up from 12 percent in 2009 and 8 percent in 2008. Bates said that Qik has a large user base and is growing but declined to say how big it is.

Skype has filed for an initial public offering. Per regulatory rules, Bates said he could not talk about financial projections. He said that Skype generates 520 million minutes a day in call time and 190 billion minutes a year. On New Year’s Eve, Skype saw four million downloads and 1 million video calls, as lots of people like to call their loved ones on holidays.

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  1. [...] just recently acquired the group messaging startup GroupMe, and earlier this year it snapped up the live video streaming company Qik, both of which could prove useful for [...]