Exclusive Heads up: A few months ago, I asked Skype CEO Josh Silverman when was he going to launch the iPhone version of the P2P voice and IM service that has now been downloaded more than 405 million times. He smiled and said, “Stay tuned.” And so we did.
A tipster — a very reliable one — tells me that Skype is almost ready to launch that iPhone (s aapl) version, perhaps as soon as next week. CTIA Wireless, a large mobile industry trade event, kicks off in Las Vegas next Wednesday, so perhaps the announcement will be made there. I am working on getting more details, as well as screenshots of the service.
The biggest clue about Skype’s pending iPhone launch came when iSkoot decided to move on from its Skype-centric strategy. The company had been offering a client that allowed cell phone users to use Skype services. Skype already offers a Windows Mobile version of its client.
As I’ve said before, Skype will have to turn to mobile to keep its growth intact. In recent months, many services, among them Truphone and Nimbuzz, started supporting Skype in their communication clients. However, a standalone Skype client would get a lot of traction among the Skype faithful. In the meantime, I think Skype is slowly flexing its muscles and swatting away little VoIP players with some of its recent moves.