Skype buying Qik

Skype CEO Tony Bates announced Friday that the video communications company had made its first startup acquisition with the purchase of Qik, a California-based mobile video service that allows users to stream and record video in real time.

In a video announcement on the company’s blog, Bates described the technology behind Qik as complementary, and said Skype would be using Qik’s technology to add recording, storage, and sharing capabilities to its own service. Skype would also be capitalizing on Qik’s existing relationships with mobile phone providers, he said.

Qik launched its first product in 2008 that allowed users to stream live video over the Internet with a mobile phone. They eventually expanded their service to allow two-way mobile video chat, and video email. The service currently works on more than 200 different mobile devices, and even comes pre-installed on some devices. Qik maintains about 60 staff at its two offices in Redwood City, Calif., and Moscow.

At the Consumer Electronics show in Las Vegas, Skype also announced it would be adding group video chat services starting at $8.99 a month, and an expanded API called SkypeKit that will let programmers build Skype services into other devices besides computers and mobile phones. Bates demoed Skype services running on an OnStar automotive system.

The terms of the Qik buyout were not disclosed, but the deal is expected to close before the end of the month.