Skype Aims For More Business Customers - InformationWeek

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10/24/2005
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Skype Aims For More Business Customers

The new software will work from a centralized, Web-based management console and let employers provision premium Skype services like voice mail and external calling.

Skype Technologies SA plans to move further into the business market on Tuesday when it introduces a public version of Skype Groups, which will let businesses manage multiple Skype users under one master account.

The new software will work from a centralized, Web-based management console and let employers provision premium Skype services like voice mail and external calling. Skype already has announced partnerships with customer-relationship management companies like Salesforce.com, is including a mobile office offering from GoRemote Internet Communications Inc., and is expected to integrate into E-commerce applications with its parent company, eBay Inc.

Skype Groups is largely targeted at small businesses; half of the early testers were companies with fewer than 10 employees. About 63% of the companies use Skype to conduct business worldwide.

The product offers a variety of features such as call forwarding, conference calling, various payment choices, the ability to set your number up so that any person calling you will be calling to a local number, says Skype VP of marketing Saul Klein. Around 30% of Skype's 61 million users worldwide use the company's Web-based phone software for business.

Skype is not out to replace conventional voice services from phone companies, Klein says. "I think we will be seeing more folks seeing us less as a threat or as not a threat, and more as a partner and opportunity," he says. Skype traffic runs over the networks owned by telecom companies and the company is already working with many phone companies to arrange its external calling features, he says.

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