Skype Snaps Up Mobile Video Chat Player Qik
Skype has confirmed it is acquiring Qik, a start-up that has been getting attention over the past year for becoming the default video-chat software on many new smartphones with forward-facing cameras.
Skype said Qik has 60 employees, headquartered in Redwood City, Calif., and has an office in Moscow, Russia, and that it expects to close the transaction later this month.
Qik runs on more than 200 mobile phones, including Android, iOS, Symbian, BlackBerry OS and Windows Mobile. It also comes preloaded on a wide variety of mobile handsets through valuable ç it has inked with handset manufacturers and wireless carriers. The partnerships helped rocket Qik’s growth. At the beginning of 2010, Qik had 600,000 users, and it ended the year with five million.
Qik has been trying to position itself as the alternative to Apple’s FaceTime application, which allows people to make video-conferencing calls from their iPhone 4. However, one of the biggest complaints about Qik is lack of integration into a users’ phone book. Presumably, Skype could bring some of that functionality to the table since many users already have built up their address book within their interface.
Skype also mentioned it plans to take advantage of Qik’s engineering expertise for optimizing video transmission over wireless networks. One cool feature that Qik has, and Skype doesn’t, is that it allows people to share videos in real time, and also record and store them to view later.