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Live from Skype press conference at CES

We're live at the Skype press conference, where CEO Tony Bates is talking about a number of huge things for the calling service we all know and love. First they announced an IPO, which is huge news in itself. Read on for more news from the company.

Universal. Useful. Wonderful. Is the theme of Skype. They aim to have their service on every platform, as many devices and use cases as possible and connect the world.

Skype is a set of software tools, allowing people to connect and communicate.

Tony apologizes for the outage. Says they understand how important Skype was to everyday lives, especially in light of what happened. It was "challenging" but they learned a lot.

Skype is the largest international calling provider in the world.

Skype is now 25% of all the world's international calling minutes! 8% in 2008, 12% in 2009.

520 million minutes a day being served.

190 billion minute a year. 40% of that is video calling.

When they launched the iPhone app, within 24 hours they had 4 million downloads, and 1 million video calls. That's in the first 24 hours -- incredible.

Also announced: a private transaction to acquire Qik. In Q&A they would not reveal purchase price.

Tony announces group video calling for consumers and enterprises -- in beta on Windows, coming soon to everyone.
Up to 10-way video calling. This will be huge for distributed teams. I can't wait to try it with team TUAW! The cost will be $8.99 per month for this and just one caller has to have the plan.

SkypeTV, a look at the partners who are integrating Skype, Tony announces Sony and VIZIO among Samsung and some others who will enable Skype on their devices.

Made an announcement for inclusion in Blu-ray devices, but that was a little unclear...

Announced SkypeKit, not so much an SDK (which they've had for partners), but a way to integrate Skype even better with other devices and services. Some examples:
OnStar -- you'll be able to use Skype to communicate with an OnStar rep if you are in trouble or need assistance. There's a demo of this running via Verizon right now somewhere at CES.
PandaChip -- a nannycam, extends the video of your baby (or whatever) outside of your local WiFi range, and into the cloud so you can check on your kid from anywhere.

Tony closes with a great story about how Skype has been able to set up spokes in low-bandwidth areas when there are disasters, facilitating communications and extending around the world. They plan to extend further into mobile to complete the circuit they've been building and connect the world.

I'd say with how much voice and video they are serving today they are pretty close to connecting the entire world already!

Q&A is a bit of a snoozer as the press keeps asking details they can't reveal about the Qik acquisition, details of the IPO and more.

"Are you going to extend into cordless phones?" Tony says with SkypKit it will make it easy for phone manufacturers to add Skype to a phone. Sounds like you'll be able to use the POTS (plain old telephone service) or Skype in the near future.

Q: Will you support E-911?
A: We haven't made that decision yet.

Q: When can Canadians get numbers?
A: Let me get back to you.

And it's over! Check out the press release below.

Show full PR text
Do More Together Wherever You Are with Skype Group Video Calling

Skype Launches New Premium Package

2011 International CES
LAS VEGAS, Nev.--(BUSINESS WIRE)-- Today at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES), Skype has officially launched group video calling for consumers and enterprises, allowing people to do more together wherever they are. Whether you're looking to bring your family together on a video call or better connect with work colleagues across the globe, group video calling makes it easy to bring to together groups of three or more on a single video call. Video calling accounted for approximately 41.5% of all Skype-to-Skype minutes in the second half of 2010.

Group video calling is available as part of the new Premium package from Skype which offers group video calling together with access to live chat customer support as a day pass for $4.99 (€3.49/£2.99)* or as a monthly subscription for $8.99 (€5.99/£4.99)* per month. Skype users who sign up for group video calling in the first month it's available will receive a 33 percent discount on 3 and 12-month subscriptions. New users receive a 7-day free trial. In addition, consumers who sign up for group video calling will receive a 25 percent discount off an HD webcam.

Group video calling is also available in the new Business version of Skype, a desktop application for PCs, which gives enterprises the ability to control how Skype is used within the workplace, with the capacity to turn off or configure a variety of Skype settings. With group video calling, enterprises can easily set up real-time, face-to-face meetings and work in more collaborative and productive ways. For enterprises using Skype Manager who sign up for Group Video Calling, they will receive a 33 percent discount when signing up for a 3 or 12 month subscription. In addition, they will receive a 15 percent discount off of a headset and speakerphone bundle.

Group video calling has brought together family, friends and work colleagues like never before, such as a Spanish family who were reunited after 6 years apart, the Global Learning Exchange who brought together classrooms from Singapore and Bakersfield, CA and companies like ePromos who can better collaborate with remote co-workers and suppliers.

To start a group video call, only one member of the call needs to have activated the seven-day free trial or to have signed up for a day pass or monthly subscription using Skype for Windows 5.1. For all participants to receive video, they need to be on at least the 5.0 version of Mac and windows. Skype video calls between two parties will continue to be offered as a free product.


About Skype
Skype is the world's communications platform whose purpose is to break down barriers to communication. With an Internet-connected device, families, friends and colleagues can get together for free with messaging, voice and video. At low cost, they can also call landlines or mobiles virtually anywhere in the world. Skype has recently introduced group video, allowing groups of more than two people to do things together whenever they're apart.

Founded in 2003 and based in Luxembourg. Skype can be downloaded onto computers, mobile phones and other connected devices for free at www.skype.com.

You can get news and updates from Skype on its blog: blogs.skype.com
Twitter: twitter.com/skype or Facebook: www.facebook.com/skype


We're live at the Skype press conference, where CEO Tony Bates is talking about a number of huge things for the calling service we all...