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VOIP provider Skype said Wednesday that it plans to open up its network to outside developers, allowing voice-over-IM functionality to be included inside a number of disparate applications.

Skype will publish its APIs and open its SkypeNet network next week, when the company celebrates its second anniversary. A second application, SkypeNet, will offer presence functionality. Both will become part of the Skype Developer Program, an existing partner community.

Opening up the APIs will allow third-party software developers to include voice-messaging capability inside of third-party applications, such as games and collaboration tools, without the need to include the full Skype client. Those applications will be able to piggyback on the Skype network, which allows free voice communication for Skype users.

Skype boasts 51 million users who have signed up during the company’s two-year lifespan, serving more than 45 percent of all U.S. VOIP traffic, according to an August survey by market researcher Sandvine.

“Skype’s mission is to make communicating through the Internet natural and easy to do, so in addition to voice communications we offer the power of both instant messaging and presence, which have become as ubiquitous as email over the last five years,” said Niklas Zennström, Skype’s chief executive, in a statement. “As we enter our third year in business and as the only company totally focused on global Internet communications, we think now is a perfect time to make these popular features available to anyone who wants to build community and communications into their website or applications.”

SkypeNet will allow users to signal others that they’re available to talk via Skype. “How will it work? Simple actually, just tell Skype that you want to share your online status with the Web, copy and paste a few lines of HTML and script that Skype will give you and voila… your Skype status is on the Web,” according to a post on the Skype developer blog. “Look for more announcements in the coming weeks from partners who will make sharing your Skype status on the Web quick and easy.”

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