Skype on Monday officially launched Skype Connect 1.0, the application formerly known as Skype for SIP, and the move marks a full-court press for corporate customers.
As outlined in its IPO filing, Skype is making a big push for corporate customers as a way to bolster profits. Skype Connect, which just exited the beta stage, is a way to meld Internet Protocol calls with traditional private branch exchange (PBX) and Unified Communications systems.
Skype said in its IPO filing:
We believe there is a significant opportunity to better serve the communications needs of the small and medium enterprise segment, as well as larger enterprise customers, by focusing on user needs in this market and developing additional products specifically tailored to business users.
Skype has been spending the last year or so building up its partner base for its corporate efforts. Partnerships with the likes of Shoretel, Cisco and Avaya are critical to Skype's success in the enterprise. Meanwhile, other players, notably Google, are also likely to expand calls and collaboration in the enterprise.
According to Skype, its Connect 1.0 offering will allow the following:
Outbound calls from desktop phones billed on Skype rates;
Inbound call handling from Skype users;
Calls from corporate PBX systems using Skype numbers;
And a dashboard to manage Skype via existing PBX and unified communications systems.
Here's the system in a graphic:
Thus far, Skype Connect has about 2,400 active global users. Skype Connect will run you a monthly fee of $6.95 per line.
Watching the uptake of Skype Connect should be interesting. Tech Crunch's Michael Arrington floated the idea that Cisco is looking to acquire Skype before an IPO. Such an acquisition would add up for Cisco, which could combine Skype with its WebEx platform, Linksys routers, cable set-top boxes as well as its back-end IP networking systems.