Tony Bates, CEO of Skype talked with the press this morning here at CES 2011, and considering the man has only been in the post for 70 days, and suffered through worst outage in the company’s history, he was well put together on the future being bright for the company.
It would seem that 25 percent of all of the total international calling minutes for the entire world are now run through Skype. In total for the entire company they account for a total of 190 billion minutes of talk time per year, and 40 percent of those are now video minutes. When that two-way video conferencing was added to the iOS app, the company saw four million downloads and one million video calls in the first 24 hours. That quickly explains the biggest news is that Skype has purchased video conferencing company Qik for a rumored $100 million. We asked Mr. Bates about the price during the press conference, but his reply was a simple, “No [we won’t confirm]. Thats a private transaction.”
To further the service’s integration into our lives, Skype TV calling ability was announced for Samsung and Panasonic last year, and this year they are now adding Vizio and Sony. If you don’t have the need for a new TV, don’t worry, jump in with a Panasonic Blu-ray player so you can get the same functionality in the living room.
Of course Skype would like to see their services in every possible device, and with that in mind they are releasing a new development platform called “SkypeKit”. The new development tool will let developers put Skype into more devices such as being built into an OnStar interface, or built into a nanny cam with Pandachip so you can see your child any time you want. We asked Mr. Bates a second question about the lack of Skype handsets currently on the market when there used to be a few decent solutions, and he replied that was another thing they were hopeful would come out of the release of this development kit.
On the subject of the group video chat that has been free thus far, sadly it will be going to $8.99 per month in the not too distant future.
Overall it was an interesting conference, and it sounds like Skype has a lot in store for the future, especially when you consider their pending Initial Public Offering.