Skype Sticks With GIPS

by Colin C. Haley

The VoIP provider extends and expands its contract with Global IP Sound as it eyes the mobile market.

Voice over IP heavy-hitter Skype has signed a four-year contract extension with voice-processing specialist Global IP Sound (GIPS).

GIPS has provided support for Skype on the desktop since 2003 and will continue to do so. In addition, the San Francisco-based company will help bring a pre-installed version of Skype to manufacturers of Wi-Fi-enabled handsets.

"We have lots of experience working with mobile applications, and in fact have a product designed specifically for this -- VoiceEngine Mobile," Wendy Toth, a GIPS spokeswoman, told internetnews.com.

The offering is a variation on GIPS' VoiceEngine product, which powers VoIP offerings from Skype, as well as Google, MSN, AOL, EarthLink and others.

GIPS voice-processing technology eliminates sound delay, acoustic and network echo and jitter -- some of the problems that plagued early VoIP services.

A Skype spokesperson could not immediately be reached for comment. In a statement, James Bilefield, Skype's vice president of business development, said, "We see Skype on mobile devices as a big part of our future development and are delighted that GIPS is working with us and other partners."

Financial terms of the agreement between the two privately held firms were not disclosed.

The move toward a more mobile Skype comes during a period of frenzied activity at the Luxembourg-based company.

Last month it announced its acquisition by online auction giant eBay for $2.6 billion.

Meanwhile, Skype's been busy putting the finishing touches on version 1.4 of its desktop VoIP software. The updated offering features enhanced sound quality and new call forwarding and personalization features.

In just two years, Skype has amassed 55 million registered users for its service. The company is now amassing 170,000 new users per week, which is about 20,000 more than before its acquisition by eBay was announced.

This article was originally published on Monday Oct 3rd 2005