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Skype Gets Enterprising: What It Means

A report in the blogosphere, sniffed out by the GigaOm super-scooper, Paul Kapustka, has Skype getting into the enterprise market with what appears to be an alpha effort leading to beta at this point. Normally, efforts like this to build a trial group are done under NDA and the cloak of mystery, but the Internet and blogosphere has changed all that, so by using this type of approach Skype gets to pre-qualify a lot of potential customers, because there has to be enough companies out there who want to at least try it.

Who does this harm? Well let us start with Microsoft which is about to launch their Enterprise Voice efforts in a big way. Next it goes after the Mitels and others like them in the PBX space because it will in theory begin to cause companies to shift away their minutes. Next it hurts the incumbents. Why? AT&T/SBC has a huge integration effort with companies like Cisco to sell and service enterprise grade voice services and systems. This is minute shifting at its very finest. More data pipe gets used, and voice shifts from 1.0 to 2.0 for business in a big way.

Who will win? Companies like Level3, Covad (a client), GlobalCrossing, and others who are figuring out, and already have figured out, how to sell Voice networks with great quality. For the eco-system partners and others who can develop applications that work with the Skype platform, this creates a very large market to sell to. Thus the Skype Developer's Program, which may be at eBay Live (though the activities are currently unconfirmed at this time), will provide the opportunity to be the developer of enterprise market apps. Unlike the less inclined to pay for apps oriented consumer marketplace which Skype is playing in today, the enterprise sector is a very cash rich sector that is used to paying for things. With a frictionless marketplace, the apps will cost much less than they do today to plug into a traditional PBX, thus making this an enterprising move by Skype.

Maybe this is where we start to see the kind of payout that was expected when eBay bought them.


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