Skype is on a roll today. The voice and video over IP provider was reported this morning to now deliver 25% of all international calling minutes, then the company acquired live mobile video provider Qik for $100 million. Now Skype has announced that it has gone live with a feature that many people are going to love: multi-person video calls.
Unfortunately, only Windows users will be able to use the service - and it isn't free. After a 7 day free trial, multi-person video calls will cost you about $5 for a day pass or $9 for a month pass, with annual and business discounts available. That's no surprise, multi-person video chat was destined to be a very big business. Check out the video below, is this something you can foresee yourself using?
Cisco was expected to unveil a dedicated home telepresence machine this Fall, at a price point of between $200 and $500. While such a service might be technically superior, the giant install base of Skype will make all consumer-level competitors take pause.
As enterprise analyst James Governor wrote in May:
"It seems to me that if Skype gets its act together around the business model its Video product could be a runaway success (and by runaway I mean enterprisey revenues). Cisco evidently knows it needs to nail a 'lower' end space - thus its acquisition of Tandberg. But Skype Video brings the barrier to participation down to one question- do you have a web cam?
Now, about that Mac version.