Page Impressions Ltd Blogcetera: Skype and Nokia are bonding – will it lead to marriage?

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Skype and Nokia are bonding – will it lead to marriage?

Latest news from the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona is that Skype and Nokia have announced a partnership to provide free and low-cost calling for Nokia's N-series of Smartphones, starting with the N97 later this year.  Skype’s software will be integrated into the phone's address book, providing presence detection when other Skype contacts are online, as well as enabling use of the Skype instant messaging client.  Significantly, the Skype service will be available both over Wi-Fi and 3G high-speed networks, so users won't need to be near a wireless hotspot to make Skype voice calls. Users will be able to communicate with Skype-to-Skype voice calls, as well as make mobile and landline Skype calls at their low VoIP prices.  Sony Ericsson also has a Skype on its Xperia  X1 device, running Windows Mobile 6.1 and Skype has a mobile ‘lite’ version running in beta on LG, Motorola, Nokia, Samsung and Sony Ericsson phones.

How will this go down with the operators I wonder?  I suspect this will not be viewed as such great news by the operators, who may view this as an attempt by Skype and Nokia to eat their lunch.  In future I expect that the major operators will be less than happy to offer subsidised VoIP capable Nokia phones to their users.  This story clearly has legs and given that eBay have indicated that Skype is no longer compatible with their long term strategy and have effectively hoisted a large “For Sale” sign over them, this move just might make Skype a good fit with either a hungry operator or an aggressive handset manufacturer.

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