Television is about to become one of the devices where you can make and take calls, as Comcast partners with Skype. This can be done by renting a video kit from Comcast, enabling a television to make and receive calls from Skype users, regardless of what device the other end is using. The kit will come with a remote control and a keyboard for chatting purposes.
This is not the first time we’ve heard of Skype on TV–there have been Skype-enabled televisions made available since last year. However, this is the first time Comcast subscribers will have the option, regardless of whether the television is Skype-enabled or not. The price for the kit has yet to be announced but it’s expected to be a lot less costly than Skype-enabled TVs. Yet again, the television remains a central piece of communication technology for the home, as companies seek points of access and integration beyond just spitting out entertainment programs.
Skype was recently acquired by software giant Microsoft for $8 billion. Some people think Microsoft is burning bucket loads of cash over something that was generating a profit of only $7 million last quarter. On the other hand, it is possibly Microsoft’s best acquisition ever, as it complements Windows Phone 7 and its partnership with Nokia, as well as a strong counter measure against Google Voice and Apple FaceTime. There was even a rumor that the Skype buy out is only an appetizer of an even bigger acquisition, and that the main dish is actually Nokia.
The Skype acquisition also helped Microsoft work its way up to conquering 68 percent of all IM market shares, on top of the 40.7 percent it already owns via Windows Live. Its runner up, Google Talk, is a far cry with only 3.5 percent market share. However, the figure is not a guarantee for seamless performance. Businesses have been complaining about Skype’s consecutive outages, and that Skype isn’t “professional” enough for business use.
“Skype has done a great deal to raise the profile of videoconferencing and the entire industry is reaping the rewards. But news that it has crashed for the second time in less than two weeks is a wake-up call for businesses that they need to invest in enterprise-class, professional videoconferencing. Companies need to ensure they have a future proof HD platform that is, most importantly, reliable,” said Ashish Gupta, CMO and SVP of corporate development at Vidyo.