Skype has again promised to slip its eponymous telephony application into Windows Phone handsets real soon - while integrating with Facebook and working out what people might actually pay for.
The pledge emerged from last week's consumerism carnival (CES 2012) after a sycophantic interviewer buttered up Skype's VP of Products Rick Osterloh. He's adamant that the company, which was snapped up by Microsoft last year, is working on a Windows Phone version of Skype's VoIP service along with XBox and Windows 8 versions, but is clearly more interested in talking about Facebook tie-ups and premium services that Skype might be able to charge for.
Facebook integration means staying within the Skype client to open up calls and chats to Facebook contacts. That's important as it makes Skype the identity aggregator - just provide your Facebook login details and you can stay in touch with your friends without having to see Zuckerberg's interface at all.
Premium services are also important - Skype might be carrying a billion minutes a day (though, strictly speaking, Skype isn't "carrying" those minutes as it is a peer-to-peer service) but very few of those are being paid for. Premium subscriptions will provide free calls to US landlines and mobiles, and group video as well as screen sharing to enable Skype to complete with WebEx and its ilk.
Integrating Skype into mobile telephony will almost annoy Microsoft's carrier partners as Skype minutes aren't contributing to their profits, but there's only so long that Windows Phone can be the only smartphone without integrated Skype if Redmond is going to justify the $8.5bn price tag. ®