If it works, Microsoft may be clicking their heels in excitement over their $8.5 billion acquisition of the already popular Skype video-chatting network, as the company drops the first addition to the family, Skype Qik, with ambitions to unseat media messaging apps Snapchat and Vine from the top of the charts.
Android users may remember Qik (pronounced “quick”) as the video conferencing app exclusive to HTC devices years ago. The app never gathered much momentum, and as such stagnated under the rule of Taiwan’s top mobile manufacturer. Skype, freshly purchased by Microsoft, likewise bought Qik in 2011.
Finally, it seems the final product of that acquisition is coming to fruition. Qik might be the next big multimedia social network.
Skype Qik launched Tuesday for Windows Phone, Android, and iOS devices. The app builds on the already popular Skype telecommunications network for seamless integration. Skype, currently accounting for about 40 percent of all international call volume and ranked second in U.S. video conferencing apps, leverages its ubiquity against its nearest competitor, Apple’s FaceTime app, the numbers for which are slightly inflated due to it being a pre-installed application on all iOS devices whereas Skype is a purely voluntary download.
Skype Qik allows users to send short video clips to friends without requiring those friends to be online at the same time, providing a means to send updates and personal, as-they-happen moments to users asynchronously. These features mimic current top performer Vine, but with one major advantage: Skype Qik caps video length at 42 seconds compared to Vine’s frustratingly scant 6 to 7 seconds. The increased time also links over to how long the video can be viewed, which is where Qik is looking to compete with Snapchat. Videos can be viewed for a full two weeks before they are gone forever, whereas Snapchat scraps the image immediately after viewing it.
It should be mentioned, however, that one-time limited views of images is primarily what Snapchat was made for, but accessory apps have been released that allow users to keep the images permanently. One of the more prominent apps was recently hacked, giving a disturbing view into what appears to be a widespread use of Snapchat: teens taking and sending nude selfies, leading authorities to deem the hack a case of child pornography.
Skype Qik could be the boost that Microsoft needs as its newest CEO, Satya Nadella, takes the focus of the company back to software instead of previous CEO Steve Ballmer’s vision of a more hardware-oriented business.
Nadella summed up his new vision for the company by reminding employees, “Mobile first, cloud first”.
What are your thoughts on Skype Qik? Do you think it’s got enough steam to dethrone Vine and Snapchat? Leave your thoughts in the comments below.
[Image via Skype]