Skype Launches Home Phone Adapter

Skype is enabling users to turn their home phone into a VoIP calling platform with its new Freetalk ConnectMe adapter.

The adapter, which can store up to 100 speed dials/Skype contacts, also includes a switch that allows users to jump between their landline and VoIP connections.

It requires a PC for the initial set up. However, to use it, all a consumer needs is a broadband Internet connection and a home phone. This means that once the adapter is set up, users don’t have to turn on their computers to connect with friends and family through Skype – an advantage over its competitor MagicJack. Read more

Skype to Acquire Group Text-Messaging Service

Skype announced today that it has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire GroupMe, a provider of mobile group messaging services. GroupMe was founded in 2010 at the Techcrunch Disrupt Hackathon and is headquartered in New York City. Terms of the acquisition were not disclosed, however media reports state that Skype paid up to $85 million for the start-up company. Read more

Facebook, Skype Partner on Video Calling

Last week via a press conference, Facebook announced that it has partnered with Skype to integrate video chatting into the world’s largest social network.

The goal of the integration was simplicity. “This is by far the easiest way to get connected by video,” Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook’s chief executive, said during the launch. “If it was any easier, it would be like reading your mind.” Read more

Comcast Demos Skype via Set Top

At the Cable Show just a few weeks ago Comcast revealed that it is working on a new service integrating the Skype video chat application into the Comcast Xfinity cable set top box.

This service will be delivered on the subscriber’s HDTV through an adaptor box, a high-quality video camera and a specially designed remote control that enables customers to type Skype chat messages as well as control their television. Subscribers will get notifications of incoming calls on their TVs and will be able to answer calls with full-screen video or in a window while watching TV.

The other calling party does not need any special equipment beyond what is needed to use Skype. Read more

Microsoft to Acquire Skype

Microsoft Corp. announced today that it has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire Skype for $8.5 billion in cash from the investor group led by Silver Lake. The agreement has been approved by the boards of directors of both Microsoft and Skype.

Microsoft said that the deal  will increase the accessibility of real-time video and voice communications, bringing benefits to both consumers and enterprise users and generating significant new business and revenue opportunities.

With 170 million connected users and more than 207 billion minutes of voice and video conversations in 2010, Skype is the world’s most popular Internet communications service. Microsoft has a long-standing focus and investment in real-time communications across its various platforms, including Lync (which saw 30% revenue growth in Q3), Outlook, Messenger, Hotmail and Xbox LIVE. Read more

Skype Partners with Citrix on New Service for Businesses

Skype announced last week that it is working with software vendor Citrix to create a new conference calling service targeted at enterprise users. The service, which is expected to be available near the end of the year, will let multiple people talk, see each other through online video and share documents.

Skype already offers a free conference calling service that allows just two users to meet online and share their computer screens. To create the new paid offering, Skype will incorporate Citrix’s GotoMeeting capabilities with its existing technologies. The new service will allow Skype’s business users to converse with more people, including users that have joined the call via Skype or through public switched telephone network (PSTN) phone numbers. In addition, it will enable rich and interactive screen sharing, whereby meeting hosts can present, annotate and highlight applications on their computer screen. Read more

Facebook Testing a VoIP Feature?

According to various user reports, Facebook is testing an integrated VoIP feature. If the rumor proves true, this new functionality will place the social networking giant in direct competition with Google Voice, Skype and Magic Jack. Various first-hand have witnessed the new, embedded call functionality appear within the Facebook graphical user interface, only to have the feature disappear moments later.

It’s not clear if Facebook is developing this new integrated voice application in-house or if it is working with a partner company (such as Skype). Facebook refused to comment on the rumor.

For more, see screen shots of the reported new feature.

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