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March 07, 2011

SKYPE News - Facebook Reportedly In Talks to Offer Skype Video Calling

By Tracey E. Schelmetic, TMCnet Contributor

Apple (News - Alert) does it with its iPhone. Google does it through Gmail. Now Facebook wants to do it. What is “it”? The ability to make IP-based video phone calls within the platform.

Facebook (News - Alert) is reportedly holding talks with Skype about a partnership that would allow Facebook's 500 million global users to use Skype (News - Alert)-to-Skype video calling within the Facebook application, two sources told Bloomberg.

Video calling between friends on Facebook was first discussed by the two companies last year, said one of the sources, who asked Bloomberg (News - Alert) not to be identified for confidentiality reasons. The feature wasn’t offered in an October update to Skype, which did include IP-based voice calling between Facebook friends.

As Web users adopt new ways of communicating, such as video and mobile messaging, Facebook has added features to give members more ways to keep in touch, including in-app e-mail, chat and voice-only Web calling.

Video calls accounted for more than 41 percent of all Web calling between Skype users in the second half of last year, the company said in January. Luxembourg-based Skype registered with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC (News - Alert)) in August to sell its shares to the public.

“Last year, we announced the integration of Facebook in Skype, so people can keep up to date with their Facebook friends through News Feed in Skype and even call and SMS their Facebook friends on any phone from Skype,” Facebook said yesterday in an e-mailed statement. “With regards to any further integration, we don’t comment on rumor and speculation and have nothing to announce at this time.”

Jennifer Caukin, a spokeswoman for Skype, declined to comment.

Tracey Schelmetic is a contributing editor for TMCnet. To read more of Tracey's articles, please visit her columnist page.

Edited by Tammy Wolf

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