Microsoft Buys Skype: What Should Enterprises Do?


Unless you were sleeping under a rock last week, you probably heard that Microsoft is buying Skype for approximately $8.5 billion, gaining access to Skype’s 170 million accounts, as well as creating opportunities to link Skype with Microsoft’s consumer and enterprise communications and gaming products.

For enterprises, this move creates both uncertainty and opportunity. Those adopting or evaluating Skype as part of their UC strategy will wonder if Microsoft will maintain Skype’s recent forays into the enterprise space including for centrally managed accounts, multi-party video chat, SIP trunking (Skype Connect) and integration with Citrix GoToMeeting for web conferencing, as well as partnerships with Avaya and Logitech to connect their voice and video products with Skype. The Avaya partnership looks especially dicey now that Skype and Avaya no longer share a common owner.

The move does create new opportunities for those deploying Microsoft’s Lync UC platform. Microsoft has already announced plans to integrate Lync and Skype, and to interconnect Skype, potentially broadening enterprise UC into a new range of home devices as well as Microsoft links Xbox Live and Skype. It’s not hard to envision someone using Xbox with Skype, contacting a customer support agent directly through their game console.

Furthermore, Skype helps Microsoft broaden its mobile capabilities; especially for Google Android and Apple iOS-based devices.

Bottom line: Revaluate Skype plans in light of the new owner; and if you are a Lync customer or evaluating Lync, keep your eye on Microsoft’s ability to deliver interconnection between Microsoft and Skype platforms.

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Copyright © 2011 IDG Communications, Inc.