Skype is renewing its push to attract business users by expanding the ways in which its free Internet telephony software can be integrated with other enterprise applications.
At the Dreamforce conference in San Francisco, Skype director of business development, Don Albert, demonstrated a new version of its Salesforce.com plug-in, which allows users of the online CRM application to directly contact Skype-registered customers and prospects from within their Web browser. A previous version of the plug-in was only accessible via Salesforce.com's opportunity tab.
The new version allows calls to be started from anywhere in the application, and automatically saves any typed notes during the call to the relevant contact history. It will also support 10-way conference calls and offer screen pop-ups for incoming calls.
The free add-in will be offered via Salesforce.com's AppExchange online applications directory before the end of the year, Albert said. While Skype won't make any revenue directly from the offering, encouraging business users onto its platform might ultimately entice them to pay for making calls using its paid-for SkypeOut service to access standard telephone numbers.
Since it was acquired by eBay in October for US$2.6 billion, Skype has increasingly sought to emphasise its potential for business users. While it has an estimated 100 million users, many of those are consumers who largely use the service for free calling, making business customers a potentially more appealing and high-spending market. In July, it launched toolbars to allow integration into popular browsers and e-mail clients.
Angus Kidman travelled to San Francisco as a guest of Salesforce.com.