Skype CEO Tony Bates confirmed plans for a video calling offering integrated with Facebook at a Facebook event yesterday, reports Tech Crunch.
In a blog post, Facebook exec Philip Su also confirmed the deal. “A few months ago, we started working with Skype to bring video calling to Facebook,” wrote Su. “We built it right into chat, so all your conversations start from the same place. To call your friend, just click the video call button at the top of your chat window.”
Su’s post talks about bringing video calling to “over 750 million people,” which presumably is Facebook’s current user tally. That’s somewhat more than the 663 million users that Skype claimed a few months ago for all of its calling services, including voice and video.
Some details still remain to be revealed about the new Facebook/ Skype video calling capability. Business Insider is reporting, for example, that Facebook users will be able to call any phone in the world for a fee. But a Skype exec reportedly told the Business Insider blogger that the companies were still working out the financial details.
This isn’t the first time Facebook and Skype have worked together. The companies previously partnered on a Skype voice and video calling application that integrated the Facebook News Feed and Phonebook. And Facebook was rumored to have been interested in acquiring Skype prior to Skype’s acquisition by Microsoft back in May.
Microsoft paid a hefty $8.5 billion for the VoIP and IP video calling provider, eyeing potential synergies that could be created by, for example, adding Skype capability to Microsoft devices such as Xbox and Kinect. Facebook undoubtedly had synergies of its own in mind—and today’s deal suggests the company may be able to achieve some of those without the high price tag it would have had to pay to acquire Skype itself.
It looks to me like what Facebook stands to gain from the deal is a cut of any video calling revenues that its users generate, while what Skype stands to gain will be new customers. Considering that only about 145 million out of Skype’s 663-million customers use the service on a monthly basis, Facebook’s 750+ million tech-friendly users must look quite appealing—even though there undoubtedly is some overlap and undoubtedly not all registered Facebook users use the service monthly either.