Facebook could add video calls with possible Skype acquisition

Boasting a slogan that it “helps you connect and share with the people in your life”, social networking giant has lacked VoIP capability to justify such a slogan. There have been calls for some time now for such capability to be added to the site. According to reports this could soon be a possiblity.

Rumours of Facebook adapting its current instant messaging system to include voice and video calls have been making the rounds. Earlier this year TGDaily, an online news site, reported that a “call” button began appearing to Facebook users in Israel but quickly dissapeared again.

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Users are able to add 3rd party applications to their Facebook accounts which allow for VoIP, however the reliability of these services are questionable. European and American mobile phone service provider, T-Mobile, had to “suspend” the official Facebook VoIP application it had created, due to user conflict.

However, multiple sources tell Reuters that Facebook has been in talks to either acquire or form a joint venture with Skype. Facebook CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, has been in talks with the Luxembourg based company which could mean big things for both companies. According to Reuters these talks are still in the early stages and there is very little information on the nature of the partnership if any.

Reuters also writes that one of its sources says that Google had also held earlier talks with Skype for a joint venture. The mega-news site however does not specify whether this would be in reference to the talks which were reportedly held in 2008. Google followed the reports by adding voice and video capability to Google chat later that year. Two of the sources also state that “Skype remains in strategic discussions with other companies,” according to the Reuters report.

Whilst Skype is largely still seen as the leader when it comes to voice and video chat services online, with Google and other companies rival services gaining in popularity it cannot be complacent.

Obviously, the greatest benefit to both these companies would be both of them gaining access to each other’s sizeable user communities. However with Skype’s much awaited IPO seemingly bogged down, any deal with Facebook — valued between US$3-billion and US$4-billion would only increase its value.

Of course as always is the case with rumours of acquisitions, regardless how well founded, when asked by Reuters all companies involved, Facebook, Google and Skype either declined or weren’t available to comment.

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