Skype now tread onto mobile phones
By siliconindia | Tuesday, 31 March 2009, 08:54 Hrs
Luxembourg: EBay's Skype, an internet calling service with about 400 million users around the world, plans to release a version of its Internet-based phone software for Apple's iPhone, which allows Skype users to make free calls on computers or supported cellphones with Wi-Fi, reported The Wall Street Journal. The move, to be announced Tuesday, pits Skype more directly against players in wireless voice services like AT&T and Verizon Wireless - both network operators. Skype's software, which can be downloaded free, allows iPhone users to call other Skype users on computers or supported cellphones free if they are in a Wi-Fi hot spot. Or they may call land lines for a fee, typically 2.1 cents a minute. Skype's chief operating officer, Scott Durchslag, said the iPhone product is part of the eBay unit's strategic push toward cellphones, as opposed to the calls from computers, for which Skype is known. Mobile devices are "where the majority of the world's conversations are happening these days," he said. "It is the No. 1 request that we get from our customers." Skype already offers software for smart phones using Microsoft's Windows Mobile operating system, which, the company says, has been downloaded 12 million times since 2005. It released a version of the software in January for the Android G1 phone, a product backed by Google, and says it will introduce a version that works on BlackBerry devices later this year. Skype's march into mobile communications could threaten the business models of wireless carriers, which generate the bulk of their revenue from cellphone calling plans.