Facebook and Skype have officially announced a much-anticipated integration. Now Facebook's 500 million users will have access to their Facebook contacts and newsfeed within Skype.
This is Skype's latest move to convince users to opt for Skype instead of their land line—it should make its service more "sticky" and grow its 560 million user base. And it's a win for Facebook—another way to keep users engaged on the network rather than picking up a telephone.
The question is, will it convince more users to pay for Skype? Right now just a tiny fraction of users—about 8 million—are paying subscribers.
Skype's 5.0 for Windows also includes a new group video calling feature that could appeal to businesses.
There's no disputing that video calling is hot—check out my colleague Jon Fortt's blog: "New Video Calling Systems Not Ready for Primetime." Can Skype's version compete? We'll see. A few weeks ago Skype made a deal with Avaya to get Skype into the corporate calling business.
In the meantime we're waiting for Skype's IPO—it filed in to go public in August, now it's one of many backlogged companies waiting to price.
Earlier this month Skype hired a new CEO, Tony Bates, formerly a top Cisco exec. Bates is set to start at the end of this month—his appointment and all these deals point to the company getting serious about turning registered users into subscribers.
Today's Facebook-Skype deal makes me wonder —again— what this means for Google ?
Just yesterday Facebook and Bingannounced deeper integrationto help Microsoft better compete with Google search. Now Skype is giving Facebook a calling service that's similar to what Google also offers. Through Gmail, Google allows users to both video chat with other Gmail users and call regular cell phones and land lines. Will Google want to strike up partnerships like the ones we're seeing today and yesterday? Or will it continue to go it alone as it offers services like Gmail calls, and as it works to make all its services more social?
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