Skype covers consumer, enterprise partner bases

Skype is on a partnership tear as it has inked a broad partnership with Avaya on the business side and reportedly has an integration deal with Facebook in the works.

Skype is on a partnership tear as it has inked a broad partnership with Avaya on the business side and reportedly has an integration deal with Facebook in the works.

BoomTown's Kara Swisher reports that Skype is eyeing an integration deal with Facebook. In a nutshell, the Facebook-Skype deal will integrate messaging, voice chat and Facebook Connect. With that partnership, Skype will have its consumer bases covered---even though you can argue that Facebook needs Skype's communication tools more.

But from a bottom line perspective, Skype's partnership with Avaya is more important. Remember that Skype's future profit growth rests on the business side of the house. Skype has forged partnerships with ShoreTel and others to broaden its ties. Skype has also expanded its channel distribution. In its IPO filing, Skype said its enterprise business will be critical to its future growth. Skype said:

We believe the business communications market represents a large opportunity for Skype. Approximately 37% of over 40,000 of our connected users surveyed in the first quarter of 2010 told us that they use our product platform occasionally or often for business-related purposes.

Add up those moving parts and it's clear that doing a deal with Avaya, a leading unified communications company, makes a ton of sense.

According to a statement, Avaya and Skype have a multi-phase deal that integrates a bevy of technologies. Avaya customers will have access to Skype Connect, which provides IP-based enterprise calls. Avaya's flagship Aura system will have Skype Connect as will Avaya IP Office and other systems. Skype calls will feature enterprise security, tracking, recording and compliance via the Avaya systems.

Meanwhile, Skype callers can make inbound calls to Avaya systems with enterprise routing and management. In the second half of 2011, Avaya and Skype will deliver integrated communications systems to enterprises in the U.S. In a nutshell, Avaya's Aura systems will be integrated with Skype for a bevy of applications.

Simply put, the Avaya win is a huge deal for Skype's enterprise ambitions. Another key thread: If Cisco is seriously thinking about buying Skype the price tag just went up. Cisco will now have to pay to unravel the Avaya deal quickly before the Skype partnership becomes more entrenched.

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