Unlikely Allies Take on Google: Facebook and Skype Unite

by Matt Klassen on September 30, 2010

At first glance it may not look like Facebook and Skype have much in common, with Facebook dominating the social networking scene and Skype controlling much of the global VoIP market. Sure both are in the communications business, but really that’s where the similarities end. While I suppose having less market overlap may make it easier for companies like these to join forces, it begs the question, what would they want with each other?

With rumours swirling that Facebook is secretly developing its own brand of mobile devices run on a custom Facebook OS and an announcement today that Skype has already partnered with enterprise communications giant Avaya, its difficult to see the benefits for either company.

But there is an old adage that I’ve mentioned numerous times when it’s come to tech partnerships, “the enemy of my enemy is my friend”… and that enemy, folks, is Google.

It’s clear from its recent partnerships that Skype is looking to get its claws into the business communications market, and what better way than to integrate its low cost VoIP services with Avaya, one of the world’s business communications service leaders. But in the last few months Skype has faced a steady rise in competition for its public VoIP services, especially from the likes of Google.

Last month Google began integrating its fledgling Google Voice VoIP software with its vastly popular Gmail email service, providing users with an easy one-stop communications hub. For Skype, a perennial VoIP market leader, this has led to a revision in its marketing strategy, a revision that is now looking to tap into Facebook’s ever-growing popularity.

For Facebook the partnership with Skype may seem a little more unusual. Clearly Facebook is looking to get into the communications game, more so than just offering its instant messaging and social networking services, and what better way to begin this journey into telecommunications than by providing its 500 million users with a video chat option provided by Skype?

Further, if the rumours prove true that Facebook is secretly producing a mobile phone/OS, having an existing partnership with Skype will only serve to provide Facebook phone users with low cost, high quality VoIP services.

Beyond this, however, this strategic partnership will help both companies edge into different markets. Statistically speaking, Skype is far more popular in Europe than it is in North America, with exactly the opposite being true for Facebook. By integrating both their services and functions, users will be able to call or message Facebook friend from Skype, while Skype will work to integrate Facebook connect into its services while making video chat available between Facebook friends.

In the end, however, this partnership seems to have many distinct benefits for Skype. Not only does the VoIP giant gain a valuable ally in its growing fight against Google’s Voice services, but it grants access to Facebook’s 500 million users, something that will only help Skype grow. As for Facebook, well it already controls the world, maybe it just doesn’t want to share the attention with Google.

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Written by: Matt Klassen. www.digitcom.ca >. Follow TheTelecomBlog.com > by: RSS >, Twitter >, Identi.ca >, or Friendfeed >

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Avaya Question | Phone New Orleans
September 30, 2010 at 12:59 pm

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