Something’s afoot at the Qik offices this week, with rumblings of $6.3 million in funding, and a potential acquisition by video chat service Skype. The self-broadcasting app is keeping mum on everything for now, as is Skype. We’ve reached out for comments from both parties and have not heard anything back just yet. While the funding has a solid lead, the acquisition news is not confirmed, though an announcement is expected at CES this week.
A roll-in of Qik with Skype’s chat product seems like a sensible enough integration, especially as Skype works up to its IPO, slated for this year. The chat software has been making its rounds, reviving investor and consumer interest in its services, thanks to a number of partnerships, including one with social network Facebook, and a number of app releases for various devices, including the Android phone.
Qik has made quite a name for itself thanks to Android devices as well, putting itself in a prime position for gaining attention and users, with early support of many features not included in Android smartphones. Live video calls, for instance, was a novel feature-add for iPhone 4 users, though Qik’s Android app readily introduced competing capabilities for alternative use (though serious improvements are still in order). Such features are of the kind you’d expect from a service like Skype, with many speculating it would have a FaceTime competitor or cooperative method shortly after FaceTime was first launched.
Qik itself has rocketed in popularity over the past year, thanks to the successful rise of Android, amazing visibility in the Android Market and distribution deals on various manufacturer handsets. The video broadcasting tool’s user base has grown from 600k to 5 million since Janurary 2010.
CES is of course a petri dish of new and innovative products, and Skype has already made a few announcemenst, expanding its service offerings for home use in particular. Skype will be available on a number of television sets, including Sony Bravia, Vizio Via and Panasonic Blu-ray players, so it’s clear that Skype is aiming to be the standard in video chat services, no matter where you are or what device you prefer to use. A team-up with Nvidia, however, indicates that Skype’s gearing up for two-way video calls on Android devices without the help of Qik.