SilverLake Partner involvement in the acquistion of Skype for $1.9 billion today opens more questions than answers for the enterprise environemnt. SilverLake you'll recall, was one of two firms that acquired Avaya for $8.3 billion back in October, 2007. So what sort of impact will the acquistion have on Skype, and more specifically Skype for Business?
I caught up with Mathew Jordan, Skype's enterprise business development manager, at ITEXPO and asked him for his reaction. He was pretty much nonchalant by the whole deal. "It's business as usual," he said. Not that you'd expect to him to really say much more.
In the short term, Matt's certainly right. There will be little impact on the two organizations. Over the longer term, though, it seems that Skype in general and Skype for Business in particular will fill the low-end niche vacated by Avaya earlier in the year. Avaya doesn't effectively address this market today. The product that it offered focused on the really small SMB, Avaya's one-X Quick Edition, was made end of life at the start of the year.
The big question will be the impact on Skype's plan to grow Skype for Business into a fuller business offer. It's that sort of play that could end up competing with Avaya's IP Office.
There also is the question of synnergies that may be leveraged. Will we see a "Skype for Avaya" similar to the Skype for Asterisk implementation that was just launched? Skype is already running the Skype for SIP program of which Avaya is a member. But the Skype for SIP program offers limited integration between the two environments, such as allowing a SkypeIn call to terminate at an Avaya number. There is no presence integration, for example, allowing a Skype user to see an Asterisk user's presence on a buddy list.
The even bigger question would be the integration of advanced collaboration features, such as Skype's video conferencing into the Avaya environment. Will you be able to initiate and receive Skype video calls to and from an Avaya client? Today, there is no program today providing those sorts of capabilities between Skype and other environments.