It is very rare when a company outlines a business strategy in an initial public offering prospectus and sets about delivering on those goals even before it goes public. Skype is that company and right now it is making all the right business moves.
While Skype's Android app and potential Facebook integration grab the headlines, the company has made a series of key moves that will make it a bigger player in the business technology market. Skype's moves set it up to be a potential cash cow and position it well for enterprise collaboration as well as unified communications. Those topics may bore some folks, but that's where the money is. Skype is following the greenbacks and larger players like Cisco and Microsoft may want to take note.
Let's run through the recent history:
All of those events occurred after Skype filed for an IPO and outlined the following grand plan:
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. 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 then said it would offer business-focused products, grow its business sales team and launch partnerships. So far so good. Most companies highlight a business strategy and then sort of followup. Skype is methodically checking off the key items to become an enterprise player. Skype already has a business version of its collaboration tools, but the other enterprise parts are falling into place.
Cisco is front and center on Skype's radar. The easy move for Cisco would be to buy Skype and eliminate the threat. However, Skype's Avaya deal will make a Cisco acquisition difficult.
If Skype's eventual market cap cooperates, you could almost see the company buying Polycom. That deal would put Skype-Polycom in a collaboration league dominated by Cisco and Avaya. But let's not get ahead of ourselves---Skype still has to go public.
However, the point is clear: Skype has the mojo to be a major thorn in the side of many incumbent enterprise players. Its sticky service can easily be a way to broaden out into new markets.