Skype Puts on a Suit and Goes Corporate

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It’s no secret that eBay subsidiary Skype has been looking to open up new revenue streams—especially since Skype’s corporate bosses are finally sick of apologizing for paying some $2.6 billion to acquire the operation back in 2005. Now, Skype is attempting to move into the enterprise market, announcing a beta version of Skype for SIP telephony networks. SIP stands for Session Initiation Protocol, and is used by million of business, corporate, and enterprise phones around the world: using Skype for SIP, employees will be able to place local and international calls via their SIP phones using VoIP technology with their standard office telephones. Users will also be able to receive calls from Skype users directly to their PBX systems.

“The introduction of Skype for SIP is a significant move for Skype and for any communication intensive business around the world,” said Skype for Business VP and general manager Stefan Oberg, in a statement. “It effectively combines the obvious cost savings and reach of Skype with its large user base, with the call handling functionality, statistics, and integration capabilities of traditional office PBX systems, providing great economical savings and increased productivity for the modern business.”

The Skype for SIP software will be available for free, but Skype plans to charge about 2.1 cents per minute for calls to landlines and cell phones. Calls from computers to phone systems using Skype will be free.

The Skype for SIP beta program is open today to a limited number of participants; SIP users, phone system administrators, service partners, and developers can get in on the beta. Beta users will need to be businesses, have a SIP-based IP-PBX phone system, and in-house expertise to configure their SIP-enabled PBX.