Skype Scoops up Mobile Video Startup Qik

by Gaurav Kheterpal on January 7, 2011

If you can’t beat them, either join them and then destroy them or buy them. Skype, for sure, seems to be a strong believer in that philosophy. The Big Daddy of Internet Telephony employed the former tactic with both Nimbuzz and Fring, leaving them in tatters last year.

And in a strategic move that is expected to shake up the mobile video chat industry, Skype yesterday announced the acquisition of Qik, a provider of mobile video software and services that enable individuals to capture, instantly share and preserve great moments on video from anywhere.

Qik is widely regarded as the best video streaming application available for Android. So, it would be interesting to see how Skype leverages Qik for two-way Android calling to counter the impending threat from Google’s very own GTalk.

Though Qik was founded in 2006, it came into limelight only last year when it managed to reach the milestone of 5 million users. 2010 was a memorable year for the mobile video startup as it forged key partnerships with several big names including Sprint, T-Mobile, Nokia, Motorola and Samsung. Though it boasts of an impressive subscriber base and numerous high-profile partnerships, Qik is by all means a small company with 60 employees and offices in Redwood City, Calif. and Moscow.

The Qik service allows users to capture and share video with anyone across mobile devices, the web, and desktop platforms. Videos can be shared in real time or archived and shared later. It is available on over 200 mobile phones across the Android, iPhone, Symbian, Blackberry and Windows Mobile platforms. Qik was also in the news last year when HTC launched the Evo 4G smartphone with its video service pre-installed.

IMO, it’s a good move by Skype as it prepares to bundle video-calling capability on a range of Verizon Wireless 4G smartphones by mid-2011. The telephony giant says the Qik platform will allow it to add recording, sharing and storage capabilities for video services to the Skype offering as well as leverage Qik’s technology that optimizes the streaming of video content across mobile networks.

Several rumors indicate that Skype is also gearing up to launch voice calling for all iOS 4 devices and two-way video chat for the iPhone 4. The company has been aggressively hiring Android and iOS developers to advance its mobile video chat efforts, therefore the Qik acquisition is perfectly timed. The market for mobile-based video calls is expected to surpass $1 billion by 2015 and Skype is leaving no stone unturned to make the most of this opportunity.

The Skype-Qik transaction is expected to close this month.

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Written by: Gaurav Kheterpal. >. Follow > by: RSS>, Twitter >, >, or Friendfeed >

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