Microsoft gets into video messaging across platforms with Skype Qik

Microsoft is continuing its renewed efforts to support multiple mobile platforms with Skype Qik, a video messaging service that debuted on Tuesday for Android, iOS and Windows Phone handsets. Skype Qik runs apart from Skype, the voice and video calling platform that Microsoft purchased for $8.5 billion in 2011.

The new Skype Qik app works with single and group video messages; anyone in the group can add anyone else they’d like using a phone number. To record a video message, users simply press the large pink button in the app. Messages last up to two weeks before they automatically disappear, although you can manually delete them as well.

Videos are recorded using either the front or back camera of a handset and you can switch between the two cameras with a screen tap. Contacts that don’t have Skype Qik installed will get a text message to explain how they can install the app and become part of the conversation. Short messages — called Qik Fliks —  can also be captured and sent as five-second animated GIFs; these can also be saved for re-use. Qik Fliks are launching on [company]Google[/company] Android and [company]Apple[/company] iOS now with Windows Phone support coming soon.

Although I’m not a video messaging user, I’m initially impressed with what I see in Skype Qik. First of all, this is another example of how [company]Microsoft[/company] is willing to bring new apps and services to mobile operating systems other than its own. Past attempts to make Windows Phone look more attractive with exclusive apps haven’t boosted hardware sales measurably, so this is a smart move.

This also brings more potential revenue to the company to help offset Skype’s big purchase price. Although Skype Qik is free for now, Microsoft could find some creative options that become in-app purchases in the future. Even if that doesn’t happen, though, it’s a smart move by Microsoft, reminding the world once again that it has relevancy in the mobile era.