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Summary:

Skype is aggressively adding to its mobile engineering team, hiring 20-30 new iOS and Android developers. The move could mean Skype video chat is coming to mobile devices soon, as the company attempts to catch up to competing services like Tango and Apple’s FaceTime.

skypeandroid

Skype is already available on a number of mobile devices, but it could find its mobile apps’ footprint expand in the near future, as the company is aggressively hiring iOS and Android mobile developers. After we received a tip that it was adding new hires, a Skype spokesperson confirmed Thursday that the company is in the process of hiring 20-30 new members of its mobile engineering team.

Skype has mobile apps available on the Apple iPhone, as well as BlackBerry and Android mobile handsets available from Verizon. But the voice and video chat provider could be looking to add features and expand the number of mobile devices its service can run on, based on the number of developers the company is looking to add to its team.

Skype’s mobile apps enable users to call and message each other over Wi-Fi and 3G networks, but one thing missing from the company’s mobile apps is the ability to video chat with other mobile and desktop users. Although about 40 percent of all Skype calls include video, the company has been slow to add video chat to its mobile apps.

While Skype was dragging its feet on making its video chat service available on mobile devices, a number of competing services have emerged that let users with front-facing cameras — like the iPhone 4 or the HTC Evo — video chat with each other. Apple introduced its proprietary FaceTime mobile chat technology with the launch of the iPhone 4, and recently made the application available to Mac users. Meanwhile, a new startup called Tango has introduced a cross-platform video chat app that works on both iOS and Android mobile devices.

The mobile hiring binge comes as Skype makes broader additions to its headcount in Silicon Valley, now that it is independent of eBay. Skype’s Silicon Valley team currently has about 110 employees, 80 of which are engineers, according to its spokesperson. Those Silicon Valley employees are moving into a brand-new, 90,000-square foot office in Palo Alto, Calif next week. The company is growing fast, and expects to increase headcount by 350 employees by the end of 2011, with the bulk of those hires happening in Silicon Valley.

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  1. I believe Skype have under-estimated mobile platforms and have always been slow to launch on mobile platforms- be it the skype clients, multitasking support or video chat.They only have themselves to blame for competition springing up; they really had a chance to dominate mobile VOIP.

  2. @Nikhlesh, is someone (besides Apple or Google) dominating mobile VoIP in Skype’s absence?

    1. @Phil: Noone dominates this market, but skype was uniquely placed to do that in the first place. Skype was a purely internet telephony focussed company. Today you have fring, tango, facetime, yahoo…., but if skype would have been as innovative and proactive as they have been on desktop, I strongly feel they would have had a better story now. Do you agree?

  3. I use yahoo messenger with video. Works pretty good
    on 3G as well. I got tired of waiting for skype and their
    tricks (wifi only/ android, restriction on 3rd party).

    I am still surprised yahoo does not get much coverage!

  4. Lucian Armasu Friday, December 3, 2010

    Skype doesn’t deserve to dominate mobile VOIP.

  5. Fring already have videochat service for Symbian, Android and iPhone.

  6. iAndroidCentral » Skype Hiring 20-30 New Engineers for its Mobile Team; Likely to Add Video Calling Friday, December 3, 2010

    [...] GigaOM is reporting that Skype is looking to ramp up hiring very soon, with a large portion of their hires being for their mobile engineering team. They report that as many as 20-30 new engineers will be brought in to tackle their mobile offering – something that’s going to be very important going into 2011 as we see new Android tablets introduced from a variety of different manufacturers. [...]

  7. Skype beefing up mobile apps, video calling coming Friday, December 3, 2010

    [...] of beefing up its mobile teams and this could lead to apps which include video calling.According to GigaOm, Skype is hiring 20-30 employees to improve its mobile engineering teams. As you know, the company [...]

  8. Why is Skype Moving to The Web? Hiring Binge Explained: Tech News « Sunday, December 5, 2010

    [...] Skype is hiring a whole lot of engineers – many of them will work on their mobile applications, as we reported earlier this week and many will work on cloud-based implementations of Skype that would include working with third [...]

  9. Glad to hear Skype is adding more firepower behind their mobile offerings. Hopefully they’ll come up with some innovative new features soon.

    Brett Miller

  10. ooVoo Takes Multi-user Mobile Video Chat Into the Cloud: Mobile « Wednesday, December 15, 2010

    [...] Tango have also been quick to make video chat available on Android phones. And rumor has it that Skype is hiring mobile developers — possibly to port its video chat capabilities to iOS and Android [...]

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