Monday, May 9, 2011

Skype Acquisition Brings 170M Users, New Carrier Relationship to MS

Microsoft's planned acquisition of Skype for $8.5 billion in cash -- its biggest acquisition to date -- is driven by real-time communications over the Web and the popularity of the Skype brand, according to Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer.

Skype currently claims 170 million users and its service delivered over 207 billion minutes of voice and video conversations in 2010. The companies said Skype continues to add about 600,000 users per day -- and has the potential to reach billions of users with its brand of free or low-cost international calling and video chat service. Skype now routinely has over 20 million users online simultaneously. About 40% of Skype calls are using the video chat feature. The average user is on Skype for 100 minutes per month. Skype believes that advertising on its video-based services will be its key revenue stream in the future.

Going forward, Skype will become a new business division within Microsoft. It supports Microsoft devices like Xbox and Kinect, Windows Phone and a wide array of Windows devices, and Microsoft will connect Skype users with Lync, Outlook, Xbox Live and other communities. Microsoft will continue to invest in and support Skype clients on non-Microsoft platforms, as it builds the Skype brand.

Microsoft plans to continue to push Skype forward onto new platforms, including TVs,PCs, and Windows phones.

For business, Microsoft said it has a good success with its Lync unified communications client. It now plans to open Lync up to the Skype user base.

  • In February 2010, Verizon Wireless and Skype kicked off an alliance that puts Skype on Verizon Wireless smartphones. Specifically, Verizon Wireless 3G smartphone users with data plans can use Skype mobile make and receive unlimited Skype-to-Skype voice calls to any Skype user; call international phone numbers at competitive Skype Out calling rates; send and receive instant messages to other Skype users; and remain always connected with the ability to see friends' online presence.

  • In October 2010, KDDI and Skype announced a strategic alliance that will integrate Skype across KDDI's services, starting with its "au" mobile offerings. Skype will initially be made available on the au Android smartphone (IS03 and IS01) starting in November. KDDI plans deeper Skype integration on a range of au Android devices as well as BREW devices in 2011. The companies said they are working to offer a whole new communications experience. Japanese customers on the KDDI network can bring their Skype conversations with them wherever they go and stay connected with their friends at all times by sending and receiving Instant Messages with the Skype app running in the background.

  • In Janaury 2011, Skype reported 27 million simultaneous users. A new peak for the company.

  • In January 2011, Skype acquired Qik, a provider of mobile video software and services, for an undisclosed sum. Qik's app enables mobile phone users to share live or recorded video clips. The Qik service is available on over 200 mobile phones across the Android, iPhone, Symbian, Blackberry and Windows Mobile platforms, and comes pre-loaded on a wide variety of mobile handsets through partnerships with leading handset manufacturers and carriers.

  • Also in January 2011, Skype released a new iPhone application that supports video calling over both 3G and WiFi networks. The new Skype for iPhone app is compatible with the iPhone 4, iPhone 3GS, and iPod touch 4th generation with i0S 4.0 or above.