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Wednesday, 08 May 2013 10:26

Viber faces off against Skype with desktop app

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Viber today shocked its users, and possibly its rivals, by launching a fully-fledged desktop app for Mac and PC.

While Viber was previously a mobile-only way of sending free messages and making calls via data, today's shiny new Viber 3 version has upped the ante in a big way, with a desktop app for OS X and Windows turning the software into a full featured voice-calling Skype rival.

Viber has also redesigned its Android and iOS apps, as well as adding support for eight new languages.

“Viber for desktop lets you do pretty much everything that Viber lets you do on your mobile phone, with minor exceptions such as stickers,” Viber CEO Talmon Marco told GigaOM.

“What puts it apart from Skype is how tightly integrated it is with the mobile experience. Skype went from the desktop to the phone. Viber went from mobile to desktop — the implication for the user is amazing.”

“Another annoying thing is my wife always complained that would leave Skype running on my computer at home and every message I exchanged with somebody [while on another computer] would beep,” Marco said.

“Viber doesn’t – when you get a message, it beeps at both places. Depending on where you answer the message, the next messages only beep on that device.”

The app is set to remain free however, although this year the company will start selling stickers to its users, along with other “value adds.”

The company also announced it now has 200 million regular users, up from 140 million at the end of 2012.

As we reported last week apps like Viber are costing telcos billions in SMS and call revenue, will Skype be the next to suffer?


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