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8/24/2005
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Skype Opens VoIP, IM Platforms

With 51 million users, Skype is the dominant VoIP service, and now is opening its APIs. Can a full-fledged war with Google and others be far behind?

Close on the heels of Google's announcement that it will offer VoIP and instant messaging services, Skype Technologies, the VoIP leader, announced that it will open its VoIP and IM platform to online communities and developers.

While the two companies avoided mention of each other in their announcements, it is clear that they will be knocking heads in the future. In addition, other firms and services are likely to be drawn into the fray. Microsoft is said to be tinkering with a VoIP service.

With 51 million users, Skype has been the dominant VoIP service. It also has an effective IM feature that is increasingly being adopted by its users.

"As we enter our third year in business and as the only company totally focused on global Internet communications, we think now is a perfect time to make these popular features available to anyone who wants to build community and communications into their website or applications," said Niklas Zennstrom, Skype CEO and co-founder, in a statement.

The Skype announcement said the move will create the "largest open instant messaging platform in the world," just by opening up its platform.

Skype said it is opening up SkypeNet and SkypeWeb Application Programming Interface (API) as part of its Skype Developer Program. The company noted that a "thriving community" of developers already has been working on Skype add-ons.

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