RealTime IT News

Skype, Xandros Bundle VoIP, Linux

BOSTON -- Internet telephony specialist Skype and desktop Linux developer Xandros will bundle their products and sell them through retailers including Amazon.com and Walmart.com.

The agreement was announced here Wednesday at the LinuxWorld trade show in conjunction with a preview of Xandros' new Surfside Linux operating system for consumers.

"We share the same values in trying to lower costs for our users," Eileen Broch, Skype director of product management, said, adding that the agreement marks the company's most aggressive move in the Linux community to date.

With more than 25 million registered users, Skype is surging. Its software, which uses an instant-messaging-like interface, enables free Voice over IP calling between its broadband users.

The Luxembourg-based company, which is privately held and venture-backed by Draper Fisher Jurvetson and others, wants to boost revenues with paid offerings, as well.

As part of its pact with Xandros, users will receive credit for about 120 minutes for the company's SkypeOut product, which enables calls to landlines and mobile phones.

Regularly, the SkypeOut service costs about 2 cents per minute for calls to 20 of the world's largest markets. Other paid services, such as voicemail, are expected soon from Skype.

Skype officials believe today's deal will expand its base. Xandros' Surfside OS also includes the Firefox browser, Thunderbird e-mail, a headset and security, including anti-virus and firewall applications. Xandros-based computers, an alternative to Microsoft Windows-based machines, can sell for as little as $200.

Financial terms of the Skype-Xandros pact were not disclosed.

The pact comes only a day after Skype trumpeted a broad agreement with mobile phone giant Motorola at the 3GSM World Congress in Cannes, France.

That partnership will focus on collaboration and joint marketing of "Skype-ready" products, such as headsets and speaker phones, as well as lay the groundwork for delivery of Skype service on Motorola mobile devices.