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Skype gobbles mobile video startup

VoIP king gets Qik

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Skype has agreed to acquire Qik, a California-based outfit offering mobile software and services that let you capture and share video across phones as well as desktops and the web.

Expected to close later this month, the deal is meant to speed Skype's march into mobile video. Qik's capture-and-share video apps are already available on more than 200 moble phones running Android, iPhone, Symbian, Blackberry, and Windows Mobile, and they give you the option of sharing videos live – as they're being recorded. Last month, Skype rolled out two-way video calling on its iPhone app, and today, Skype took the beta tag off its group video calling service, which is available on the desktop as well as via the iPhone app.

"Both Skype and Qik have a common purpose of enriching communications and sharing with video, across any device," reads a statement from Skype and Qik. "The acquisition of Qik helps accelerate Skype’s leadership in video by adding recording, sharing, and storing capabilities to Skype’s product portfolio."

The two companies also said that Skype will "leverage" the engineering smarts behind Qik's Smart Streaming tech, a means of optimizing video communication over wireless networks. Qik video can be streamed in realtime or stored for later viewing.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Having dropped its beta tag, Skype's existing group video calling service is now available as part of the company's new Premium package, which also offer live chat customer support. A Premium day pass is available for $4.99 (€3.49/£2.99), while subscriptions are priced at $8.99 (€5.99/£4.99) per month.

If you sign up for group video calling over the next month, you'll get a 33 per cent discount on a 3 or 12 month subscription and a 25 per cent discount on an HD webcam. The service is also available with the new Business version of Skype. ®

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