Weeks after rumors, published reports, and even a big billboard in Shanghai's Xujiahui computer area announced the deal, Tom Online (TOMO) today officially announced its partnership with Skype. Skype will allow Tom.com users to use Internet telephony to talk with friends anywhere in the world.
"TOM Online has always believed that instant messaging is an important part in the development of portals and we have investigated the best way to introduce a cutting-edge product to the Chinese market. By partnering with Skype to bring such an advanced communication tool to China, TOM Online will not only be able to serve its users better, it is also my belief that the partnership will go a long way to help make the world a more close-knit place," Wang Lei Lei, Chief Executive Officer and Executive Director of TOM Online, said at the grand launch of TOM-Skype in Beijing.
Niklas Zennstrom, a founder and Chief Executive Officer of Skype and a founder of the world's most downloaded music file-sharing software KaZaa, said at the event, "I believe the phenomenal success achieved by Skype in just more than a year shows what hundreds of millions of people truly want from the internet — they want it to be a more free and sharing place. Our alliance with TOM Online has helped Skype enter a market with the most growth potential where I believe a new communication era is about to begin and everyone will be better off because of it.
To date, Skype has been downloaded by more than 34 million times, with over 15 million registered users in 212 countries and a concurrent user base of more than one million. As a founder of the hottest instant messaging service in the market, Zennstrom was named by leading technology industry website, silicon.com, as one of the Top Ten Agenda Setters in the IT world, along with Bill Gates and Steve Jobs.
Based on peer-to-peer technology, which allows individual computers connected to the internet to send data to each other, TOM-Skype is a downloadable communication software with superior features that beat most instant messaging tools on the market to date. In addition to its CD-like voice transmission capability with imperceptible interference and delay, the software can also host conference calls of up to five parties and send large files at high speed.
"Like e-mail, a communication tool like TOM-Skype is going to be judged in history as an important part in the evolution of the internet. It will become an indispensable part of many people's lives; its impacts on how we communicate will be irreversible. I believe there are enormous benefits to be had for many businesses, and the opportunities that the technology will bring to these companies cannot be underestimated," said Wang.
Incorporated as part of TOM Online's key business development strategy, TOM-Skype will help the company further integrate its dynamic free and fee-based services, ranging from content to online games to wireless value-added products, for the benefits of its users. The company said TOM-Skype will not only be China's most advanced instant messaging service, it will also help TOM Online become the most customer-oriented communication platform with the most room for growth.
"It has been said that Skype was going to turn the telecommunications industry on its head around the world, but TOM Online and Skype do not see it that way in China. TOM-Skype is totally committed to working with the country's communications players to serve users better. I have no doubt TOM-Skype will help boost the usage and advance the development of broadband services to the benefits of all players in the communications industry in China," said Elaine Feng, Executive Vice President and Executive Director of TOM Online.
Available to anyone with an internet connection on Windows, Linux, Mac OS X and Pocket PC platforms, TOM-Skype can penetrate most firewalls and is easy to install. The software can be downloaded at skype.tom.com for free.
TOM Online's extensive promotion on TOM-Skype will kick off with a title song on Skype by singer-song writer Wang Leehom, who is also the Ambassador of TOM Online. In addition to that, Zennstrom will tour elite universities such as Tsinghua University and Fudan University in major Chinese cities to spread the message of the importance of sharing in today's fast-changing world of information technology.