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Skype To Hit Windows Phone ‘Soon’

Tom Jowitt is a leading British tech freelance and long standing contributor to TechWeek Europe

A Skype executive has revealed that the popular VoIP client will soon appear on Windows Phone handsets

An executive at Microsoft’s Skype division has revealed that the popular VoIP client will “soon” be ported across to the Windows Phone platform.

The revelation came during a Microsoft video interview with Skype’s VP of Products Rick Osterloh, recorded at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas last week.

Windows Phone

Osterloh confirmed that Skype would soon be appearing on Windows Phone, after commenting about the recent “spectacular” growth of Skype.

“We have 200 million monthly users, and we now carry a quarter of the world’s international long distance minutes,” said Osterloh. “People are using the product like crazy.”

 

“We have focused on mobile as a key area for us,” Osterloh added. “We are working on a Windows Phone product that will be coming out soon.”

Up until this comment, it had been assumed that Skype would only arrive on Windows Phone by the end of 2012. Now Skype’s arrival on Microsoft’s mobile platform seems to be much closer than that.

The arrival on Windows Phone makes sense, considering that Microsoft owns both the mobile operating system and of course Skype, after it completed its acquisition of the VoIP provider in October last year for a cool $8.5 billion (£5.4bn).

Skype had been previously owned by online shopping website eBay, before the Internet telephony unit was sold to investors including Silver Lake and Marc Andreessen in 2009.

Facebook Option

Yet despite Osterloh’s insistence that a key strategic focus for Skype is to be ‘multi-platform‘, Skype for the moment remains non existent on some mobile platforms such as Windows Phone and BlackBerry.

Osterloh also used the video to point out Skype’s increased functionality with Facebook. He highlighted the fact that Facebook chats and video calls are now possible from within the Skype client.

This allows Facebook users to remain in touch with their Facebook friends, but without having to actually go through Facebook’s main interface.

Microsoft Integration

He also pointed to Skype’s premium subscription services that offers options such as group video calling, screen sharing, and free calls to US landlines and mobiles. Osterloh said that persuading users to pay for premium services, rather than the free options that are most popular, was a key focus for Skype.

Finally Osterloh admitted that tighter Skype integration with Microsoft’s product portfolio is on the way when he was asked when Microsoft’s products are finally going to be closely tied to Skype.

“We working with a lot of different Microsoft product groups to create direct integrations. Right now we are working on Windows Phone, but we will be working on Windows 8 and Xbox, and Lync so a whole range of different Microsoft users will get access to Skype and have a great experience,” said Osterloh.