RealTime IT News

Skype's Platform Open For New Apps

Skype, which is about to celebrate its second birthday on Monday, apparently feels it's better to give than receive.

The Internet telephony player today announced that it will allow programmers to integrate the Skype instant message platform and presence application program interfaces into their Web sites and applications.

It's the latest move by Skype to open up APIs and make its service more accessible. Earlier this year, it opened the API for its buddy list, which led some innovative applications piggybacking on Skype code.

One is iSkoot, a new service that allows users to connect their regular cell phones to Skype's service and buddy lists.

The Cambridge, Mass., startup is working on versions of the product for other platforms, but iSkoot CEO Jacob Guedalia said the company started with Skype because it is a "really important ecosystem leader and a powerful trendsetter."

The company also held its first API Developer Competition to encourage innovation around the Skype platform. More information about Skype's developer network can be found here.

Skype, which has more than 50 million registered users, is constantly looking for ways to enhance its service and its reach. For example, it plans to begin testing a video calling service later this year.

Because of its success in amassing users, the privately held company is often mentioned as a takeover target. The latest alleged suitor was News Corp., which reportedly offered $3 billion for Luxemburg-based Skype. A Skype spokeswoman downplayed acquisition talk however.

The news of the new APIs comes on the same day as another Internet giant made its own move in the communications space. Search leader Google announced a VoIP-enabled IM client. The new service marks another step on Google's evolution from search service to Internet gateway.