Skype Calls On RadioShack

The VoIP player signs its first deal with a U.S. retail chain.

 By Erin Joyce
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Just in time for the holiday shopping season, Skype has signed a deal with RadioShack to distribute phones and headsets that work with Skype's Voice over IP service.

The deal, announced today, is the Luxembourg-based firm's first partnership with a U.S. consumer electronics chain -- not that it has had any trouble signing up users on its own. Skype boasts 66 million users and adds an average of 175,000 new people daily.

That torrid growth rate was enough to convince eBay to make a $2.6 billion acquisition bid.

Under the deal, RadioShack will stock Skype-compatible gear on shelves in 3,500 stores. The products will come from several vendors.

They include: the Motorola H500 Bluetoth headset; Linksys CIT200 Cordless Internet Telphony Kit and Logitech Premium USB headset 250.

RadioShack will also offer a Skype "starter pack." It includes Skype software, a headset and 30 minutes of SkypeOut minutes , for making calls to people who don't have Skype, for $4.99. Calls between Skype users anywhere in the world are free.

"RadioShack is known for helping make the market for new technologies, and by all indicators Skype is poised to resonate with U.S. customers after experiencing huge success overseas," Jim Hamilton, RadioShack's senior vice president and chief merchandising officer, said in a statement.

A Skype spokesperson was not immediately available for comment.

It's the second recent partnership to expand Skype's base. Last month, the company expanded a relationship with Taiwanese Internet portal giant PChome Online's subsidiary Ipevo.

Ipevo sells a range of Skype-certified corded and wireless phones that plug into the PC through a USB port. The relationship calls for Ipevo to develop and sell its wares to the U.S. and Taiwanese markets.

This article was originally published on Nov 22, 2005
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