If the rumors about Skype buying Qik are true, it seems that they (Skype) were sleeping on their past success and as every large business entity with monopolistic appetite, instead of having improved their own product’s features, now they are trying to gain some time by controlling the competition. Qik mobile app can be used for video recording, sharing, uploading, and most of all, video chat, and it recently announced iPhone support aside from its already big presence on the Android phones market and compatibility with over one hundred Android and even Nokia devices. It seems that Skype has failed to anticipate the growth and like many others, they have been watching things happen, instead of making things happen in the process.
Those of us who are both Android and Skype users know that Skype video on Android devices is way overdue (see my recent post about frustrations of a new Android user). Same applies to their integration with PS3 and Xbox 360, the hardware present at many living rooms that could convert every big screen TV into a video call hub. However, this move is telling me that they finally woke up and saw and acknowledged the danger of losing the market on mobile devices. They didn’t have video chat on phones until the recently announced video call feature on iPhone, but they still have nothing on Android. In addition, their voice chat on Android phones works only on Verizon’s mobile network, while other USA customers are screwed because they can only use it when connected to WiFi. Not good enough, and that opens a lot of space for competition.
As I tested, Tango is the only cross-platform video chat that so far works well on both Android and iPhone phones and it’s threatening Skype, big time. Yahoo Messenger was supposed to work on both platforms AND on the PC, but it is extremely buggy and my phones kept crashing so much during the last week’s testing that I rendered it dysfunctional and inoperable. User reviews on Android market will confirm my experience. Qik works great between Android devices, but it wasn’t cross-platform until its announced iPhone compatibility few days ago (still can’t talk to users on a computer). FaceTime works great on iPhones but it’s not cross-platform. Hopefully Skype fills the gap and uses Qik’s great integration to catch up, but now it seems to me it’s going to take them even longer to achieve video chat from phones to computers.
As I stated in my post on Tango’s site about two weeks ago, now is their chance. Skype has to either integrate Qik into their systems and get it to talk to PCs, iPhone and all their users, or get to achieve quality video chat on their Android client. Judging from this purchase, it will take them some time (they wouldn’t be buying the competitor if they already had a working solution). Tango however, only needs a computer client and they are ahead of the game.