Skype Technologies is making its presence and instant messaging (IM) technologies available to all developers wanting to integrate them into their websites or applications.
The announcement comes as Google also announced plans to offer an IM service with voice communications, muscling in on Skype's territory.
As part of its program to help build new types of Web-based communication services, Skype is opening up its SkypeNet and SkypeWeb APIs (application programming interfaces) to developers worldwide, the company said.
Although the two-year-old, Luxembourg-based company has been offering presence and IM services for some time, it's best known for its core VoIP (voice over the Internet Protocol) offering.
"We've always been about openness on the Net," said Skype cofounder Janus Friis in a telephone interview. "Now we're taking this openness one step further."
Friis said the move to open its APIs wasn't prompted by Google's decision to enter the VOIP market, but rather as a part of a strategy to make it easier for companies, organizations and individuals to connect to the Skype platform and use the Web-based services.
Skype says it has more than 51 million registered users for its free services, and more than two million using its paid services.