Skype Expands Platform Ambitions with Bigger Silicon Valley Presence


Skype, the Internet voice and video company has ambitions that go beyond simply offering cheap voice. The company now wants to turn itself into a communication platform that is embedded in various computer applications, consumer electronics and mobile devices. It is a strategy that it learned from Netflix. In order to do that the company is ramping up its presence in Silicon Valley. It currently has about 80 people in Silicon Valley but it would need a lot more to fill the 90,000 square foot office space it just acquired in the Stanford Research Park at 3210 Porter Drive in Palo Alto. Joanthan Christensen, Skype’s media platform chief is going to speak head company’s operations in Silicon Valley.

Silicon Valley will add to Skype’s excellent engineering team in Estonia, Prague and Stockholm, and will also become the home of regional marketing, business development, and the Skype for Business team.Making this move is an exciting step for us. Skype’s Silicon Valley offices are currently in San Jose and Brisbane, where approximately 80 employees work today. The plans are to relocate our Silicon Valley teams to the new Palo Alto space as early as October 2010.  And, we hope to attract some of the best and brightest talent in the Valley, especially engineers who are skilled at building ultra scalable infrastructure. (CEO Josh Silverman in a Skype blog post.)

Silverman told me that the company is looking to expand its software engineering base in Silicon Valley mostly because it wants to expand its footprint to consumer electronics and mobile devices. “There is a huge demand for us to build Skype into other people’s experiences,” Silverman said. To pursue that opportunity, Skype recently launched an SDK that allows Skype to be embedded in different applications. “We made a transition from being a pure voice company two years ago,” said Silverman. The company is fast becoming a video calling service. Nearly one third of calls on Skype are video calls.

Related From GigaOM Pro: SkypeKit: Skype’s Platform for CE-based Communication.