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from the L.A. Times

SightSpeed folds into Logitech

Telephone rebels have long flocked to Skype, Vonage and other Internet-based calling services that offer cheap to free calls.

Now SightSpeed, with its well-regarded video conferencing capabilities, hopes to take its Internet calling service beyond computer-to-computer -- or even phone-to-phone -- connections as part of a deal announced late tonight to sell itself to Swiss peripherals maker Logitech International for $30 million in cash.

Berkeley-based SightSpeed, which has been battling bigger rival Skype Technologies, hopes that the all-cash acquisition will lead to new ways to make video calls through other devices, though founder Peter Csathy declined late Tuesday to provide much more information.

One could surmise, though, that Logitech hopes to use the television, among those other devices, to let friends and relatives call each other to show off the baby's first steps or the senior in graduation garb.

The deal, which both sides hope to close in the next few weeks, gave the companies a chance to be somewhat obtuse in a statement on which they wouldn't elaborate.

The acquisition should "help us move more quickly toward our goals for video services that complement the way people socialize, communicate and enjoy entertainment," said Junien Labrousse, executive vice president of Logitech's Products group.

He said the company's research shows that there is a "large untapped market" for communicating through video calls. But folks want the technology to be "integrated into their family lifestyle, which means going beyond the PC," Labrousse said.

SightSpeed, of course, isn't the only Internet calling company with video. Skype itself has long had a video component, and some customers see little difference between the two.

Founded in 2001, SightSpeed has 25 employees. Csathy said he and all the employees would remain with Logitech.

-- Jim Granelli

 
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