Just in time for the holiday shopping season, Skype has signed a deal
to distribute phones and headsets that work
with Skype’s Voice over IP
The deal, announced today, is the Luxembourg-based firm’s first partnership with a U.S. consumer electronics chain — not that it has had any trouble signing up users on
its own. Skype boasts 66 million users and adds an average of 175,000 new
That torrid growth rate was enough to convince eBay
make a $2.6 billion
Under the deal, RadioShack will stock Skype-compatible gear on
shelves in 3,500 stores. The products will come from several vendors.
They include: the Motorola H500 Bluetoth headset; Linksys CIT200 Cordless
Internet Telphony Kit and Logitech Premium USB headset 250.
RadioShack will also offer a Skype “starter pack.” It includes Skype
software, a headset and 30 minutes of SkypeOut minutes , for making calls to
people who don’t have Skype, for $4.99. Calls between Skype users anywhere
in the world are free.
“RadioShack is known for helping make the market for new technologies, and
by all indicators Skype is poised to resonate with U.S. customers after
experiencing huge success overseas,” Jim Hamilton, RadioShack’s senior vice
president and chief merchandising officer, said in a statement.
A Skype spokesperson was not immediately available for comment.
It’s the second recent partnership to expand Skype’s base. Last month, the
company expanded a
relationship with Taiwanese Internet portal giant PChome Online’s
Ipevo sells a range of Skype-certified corded and wireless phones that plug
into the PC through a USB port. The relationship calls for Ipevo to develop
and sell its wares to the U.S. and Taiwanese markets.