Okay, so it's actually more like a sport coat, but you get the picture. Skype is getting serious about its business customers. During 2005, Skype discovered that a third of its users were actually using Skype at work. As a result, Skype has made several strategic moves over the past couple months to better service business users:
- Launched www.skype.biz, featuring the Business Control Panel, which allows businesses to set up Skype Groups in order to have a master account for issuing calling credits to multiple employees, set up sets of SkypeIn phone numbers, set up toll free numbers, and more; Skype's business area also features business-friendly third party add-ons such as Skylook and includes business case studies and an e-mail list for users interested in the biz side of Skype
- Skype also recently announced a new partnership with Polycom, the king of the corporate speakerphone. The two companies will join forces to produce business-class VoIP devices. The first will be the Polycom Communicator, which will provide high fidelity hands-free Skype calls (and conference calls)
- This week, Skype 2.5 has been released for beta testing. The latest version of the software includes greatly expanded conference calling capabilities, better integration with Microsoft Outlook, easier dialing of landline and cell phones, and the ability to send SMS messages to cell phones
I'm currently testing Skype 2.5 and will be reporting further on that, and I'm hoping to also review the Polycom Communicator when it is released later this quarter.
Jason Hiner has nothing to disclose. He doesn't hold investments in the technology companies he covers.
Jason Hiner is Global Editor in Chief of TechRepublic and Global Long Form Editor of ZDNet. He's co-author of the book, Follow the Geeks.