Microsoft on Tuesday announced that it will acquire Skype for $8.5 billion in cash. The news comes just days after reports surfaced that Facebook and Google were both interested in purchasing, or at least creating a joint venture with the online video chat company. However, sources said Facebook was considering spending $3 to $4 billion on Skype, a fraction of Microsoft’s offer. The firm said Skype will be used to support Xbox and Kinect, Windows Phone and other Windows devices. Microsoft also said that it will connect Skype users with Lync, Outlook, Xbox Live and other software platforms. “Together we will create the future of real-time communications so people can easily stay connected to family, friends, clients and colleagues anywhere in the world,” Microsoft’s CEO Steve Ballmer said in a statement. Skype, which currently has 170 million connected users, will become a new business entity in Microsoft, and Skype’s current CEO Tony Bates assume the role of president of the Microsoft Skype Division. Hit the jump for the full release. More →
Microsoft has just invited us to a Windows Phone event in New York City on May 24th, 2011, during which the company will “lift the curtain on the next major release of Windows Phone.” We know Mango will offer Internet Explorer 9 with an integrated Twitter experience, better multitasking, and new apps such as Angry Birds, Skype, and Spotify. We’ve also heard that Microsoft will add Bing Audio for identifying music, Bing Vision for scanning bar codes, and voice-guided turn-by-turn navigation with Bing Maps, although none of these features have been confirmed by Microsoft just yet. On May 24th, however, we’ll learn it all — and of course we’ll be on hand reporting live.
Facebook and Google are in separate talks to enter joint ventures with Skype, Reuters reported on Thursday. Facebook’s CEO Mark Zuckerberg has also reportedly been in clandestine meetings discussing an all-out purchase of the VoIP service. Skype’s IPO, which is expected to occur later this year, could be worth $1 billion, however, deals with Facebook or Google could bring in as much as $3-$4 billion, Reuters said. Skype 5.0 launched in October of this year and added tight Facebook integration, but the social network has yet to include native video calling into its website or mobile applications. Google could benefit from Skype’s mobile technology to build out its Android video-chat feature, too, which just launched late last month. Neither company has offered a comment on the matter. More →
Last week, we told you about a weakness discovered in Skype’s Android client. The issue stemmed from a combination of incorrect file permissions and lack of encryption usage on the database files used to store contact information, chat history, and more. The company has gone ahead and updated said client, and as an added bonus has included the ability to make VoIP calls via your phone’s 3G data connection. “Calling over your 3G connection is available worldwide – now including the US,” reads the post. We can’t see any reason not to mosey on over to the Android Market and update to the latest version of Skype. The scannable QR code is after the jump. More →
The detectives over at Android Police have found an interesting weakness in Skype for Android. The site has discovered that the popular VoIP chat client stores contact details, conversation logs, and a host of other information in a series of unprotected squlite3 databases. “Skype mistakenly left these files with improper permissions, allowing anyone or any app to read them,” reads the article. “Not only are they accessible, but completely unencrypted.” The vulnerability was initially found in the recently-leaked Skype build for Verizon’s HTC ThunderBolt, but upon further review the current build of the software was also found to have the issue. The article’s author has even provided a proof-of-concept application that can leverage the databases’ weakness. Skype has published an official response saying that the company takes privacy very seriously and is “working quickly to protect users from this vulnerability.” Hit the jump to see a video of the proof-of-concept in action. More →
AllThingsD had a chance to sit down with Microsoft VP Joe Belfiore to discuss the new Windows Phone 7 “Mango” update, which the Redmond-based firm is discussing during the MIX 11 conference in Las Vegas today. Belfiore confirmed that Mango will offer a new browsing experience using Internet Explorer 9, and noted that it will have integrated Twitter features. Similarly, Mango will allow users to run multiple programs at the same time – complete with background audio support. That means you could theoretically stream music from Slacker Radio while firing off an email. Microsoft will also allow developers to tap into a phone’s gyroscope and camera, which it hopes will help spur more augmented reality applications. Speaking of apps, Belfiore confirmed that Layar, Skype, Spotify, and Angry Birds, are on their way to the Windows Marketplace. Belfiore confirmed that Mango will launch this fall. More →
Have an HTC ThunderBolt and a burning desire to use Skype’s video chat service? You’re in luck, because the gang over at Droid-Life have discovered a leaked iteration of the Internet communication client that is video-chat ready. The client, which was expected to ship with the ThunderBolt at the time of its announcement, can only be installed on Verizon’s first LTE smartphone… at the moment. If you’re interested in taking the software for a spin, hit the read link and have yourself a download. More →
With the ThunderBolt, HTC has delivered yet another “first 4G smartphone” following its EVO 4G for Sprint (and the often forgotten MAX 4G introduced in 2008). It’s the first handset to run on Verizon’s brand new 4G LTE network, and it’s an Android smartphone powerhouse that is easily the fastest smartphone on the planet in terms of data speeds. That’s not to say the device is perfect, however. The release of Verizon’s first 4G handset was pushed back several times, spanning almost two months, and I’m not so sure all of the wrinkles were ironed out even after all of the delays. But the ThunderBolt is finally here and I’ve spent some quality time with it over the past week or so. Read on to see if this is not only the fastest smartphone on the planet, but one of the best as well.
Have you been a fan of Qik, yet kind of depressed its live streaming iPhone app has fallen by the way side? Qik has just announced that it has a brand new app for the iPhone and iPod touch, and it’s called Qik Video Connect. Qik Video Connect streams live video like you’re used to, directly to your Qik.com user page, but it takes things one step further by offering live video calling (over 3G as well as Wi-Fi), video messaging and video sharing. If your friends aren’t around for a live video chat, just shoot them a video message, or even post it up automatically on Facebook or Twitter. Qik also has a premiun version of Video Connect that’s available for $2.99 if you want to access enhanced features like real-time video effects, the capability to edit your videos prior to upload, and HD video quality uploads. We have been messing witih Qik Video Connect for a little while, and well, we really love having Qik live streaming back on our iPhones. The new app is clean, easy to use, and the video sharing features are really intriguing. Both versions will be available in the App Store later on today. The full press release can be found after the break. More →
Skype announced on Monday that it will soon add advertisements to its desktop software. The move is thought to be an effort to introduce a new revenue stream ahead of the company’s IPO, which will occur this year. The new display ads will be rolled out in the U.S., U.K. and Germany this week, and they will appear on the Home tab of Skype’s desktop software. Initial ad buys that will begin running as soon as Skype’s new ads go live come from companies including Groupon, Universal Pictures and Visa. While Skype’s long-term plans remain unclear, the company said that it will initially only display ads from a single brand each day. For the time being, Skype’s ads will appear only in its Windows client, not its Mac application. More →
Skype updates iOS app for Verizon iPhone; video calling coming to Verizon, Android sets February 28th?
Two quick bits of Skype news to report. Today, the internet-based communications company has posted an update to its iOS client. The new code allows the app to function on the Verizon iPhone and adds H.264 support. The additional MP4-codec will allow users to place calls from their iOS device to a wider range of Skype-enabled devices, including TVs.
The second, less official bit of Skype news comes courtesy of blog Droid-Life. The site has acquired information that indicates video-calling capabilities will be coming to Skype mobile for Android — for Verizon Wireless devices only — on the 28th of February. Unfortunately, it does look like those with LTE, Android handsets will be the only ones able to utilize the voice calling capabilities — it is unclear whether you will have to actually be connected to Verizon’s LTE network to initiate a video call. We should know more in the coming weeks. More →
After last month’s little service snafu, internet communications giant Skype is back up, fully operational, and setting company records. Just yesterday, Skype saw a record 27 million users simultaneously logged on to its network. Typically, during peak hours, the company sees close to 25 million Skypers logged on to its network. The surge in users coincides with the conclusion of the holiday season, where, presumably, more users were gifted computers and mobile devices that can run Skype’s popular chat software. The numbers should continue to rise in the coming months, especially with the company’s push to be on more smartphones and internet connected TVs — thanks to its SkypeKit APIs. Anyone recently discover, or rediscover, a use for Skype? More →
Skype announced Thursday that it will acquire mobile video software and service provider Qik. Unconfirmed rumors suggest the deal will be worth approximately $100 million. Qik specializes in mobile video broadcasting and video calling services, the latter being an area that Skype has been particularly interested in lately. Qik emerged among a group of similar services but broke out in 2010 thanks to carrier and manufacturer deals that helped net the service 4.4 million new subscribers over the course of the year. Qik’s bread and butter is currently the Android OS, though it also offers clients for other platforms including iOS and Symbian. “The Qik team has delivered exceptional video experiences for its mobile partners and millions of end users across a range of devices,” said Skype CEO Tony Bates in a statement. “Qik’s deep engineering capabilities and strong mobile relationships will be an impressive complementary fit with Skype.” Hit the break for Skype’s full press release. More →