Skype and Facebook have been deeply integrated for a couple of years now, so it makes a certain type of sense for the video chatting service to launch its own e-commerce product right on the heels of Facebook doing the same thing.
Skype debuted new updates for both its desktop application for both Mac and Windows Wednesday, including a new toolbar for Windows, update in the form of SMS messaging for Mac, and the addition an e-gifting feature that is available on both platforms.
Skype user can now send a gift of credit to anyone they care about on their birthday.
"When you get a birthday notification you can choose to gift someone with credit on their birthday. They can use the credit to call you or anyone they care about, at any time," Skype wrote.
Here is what the notification looks like for Mac:
And for Windows:
User can pick out the design of the card, include a personal message, and decide the amount on the card. The card is delivered to the recepient via e-mail.
This update comes right on the heels of a similar one that Facebook began offering at the end of last month, when it announced it was going to start selling its own reusable giftcards that could be used at retailers and restaurants, including Sephora, Target, Olive Garden and Jamba Juice.
Does e-commerce equal more revenue?
If you look at Facebook's forays into the space, then the answer is: perhaps in the long run, but not right away.
Facebook got into the e-commerce market when it relaunched its Gifts service in September, to allow users to send each other goods by mail.
Though Facebook ramped up the service for the holidays, Gifts did not make much of a mark on the company's recent earnings report, and Mark Zuckerberg said afterwards that he wants to "temper expectations" on products such as Gifts and Graph Search.
"I think these can be big opportunities for us long-term, but for the forseeable future, the most important thing for us is to continue building out great consumer experiences around these products," Zuckerberg said.
For the forseeable future, e-commerce will not have much of a factor on Facebook. It will be interesting to see Skype has any better luck getting users to spend their money in the short term.
Other Skype updates
In addition to the e-commerce update, the Mac and Windows versions of Skype each one other update as well.
The Windows version was given a new toolbar, redesigned to simplify the User Interface so that all the key actions you used to have above and below the contacts list, including Home, Calling Phones, Creating Groups and Adding Contacts, are now in one location.
The Mac version now allows users to send one-way SMS without having to add and verify their mobile number.
Both the new Mac and Windows versions of Skype are available to be updated now.
(Image source: http://blogs.skype.com)