How will Skype affect the unified communications market?

* An analysis of Skype's business strategy and implications for the unified communications market

Last week, we covered a Skype announcement about its VoIP application for the iPhone, today we'll follow-up with additional news and analysis about the company. In the news category, eBay last week announced it plans to separate Skype from the company. In the latter category, we'd like to share some great analysis about Skype's business strategy and the implications for the unified communications market from Brian Riggs, Research Director, Enterprise Software and Communications at Current Analysis.

Last week eBay announced plans to spin off Skype, beginning with an initial public offering (IPO) expected to be complete in the first half of 2010. According to an eBay prepared statement, the actual date of this “will be based on market conditions.”  “It's clear that Skype has limited synergies with eBay and PayPal. We believe operating Skype as a stand-alone publicly traded company is the best path for maximizing its potential,” eBay President and CEO John Donahoe said in the statement.

In the same announcement, eBay disclosed that the recent release of the “Skype for iPhone application” had some pretty impressive results: over 1 million downloads in the first 36 hours “and in just over a week downloads passed the 2 million mark, putting Skype on more than 6% of all iPhone and iPod Touch devices – and adding almost half a million new Skype users.”

Meanwhile, we ran across some interesting analysis from Brian Riggs, on how Skype can affect the overall unified communications market. In his article, Riggs asks and the answers these questions:

• What are Skype’s aspirations for the business market?

• What are Skype’s business communications offerings and how are they distinct from one another?

• What role will Skype play in the market for business communications solutions?

• What threat does Skype pose to unified communications solutions developers?

In one of his conclusions, Riggs notes that, “As Skype seeks to connect its proprietary voice network directly to SIP-based PBX systems deployed by SMBs, developers of communications solutions will find themselves face-to-face with the owner of the world’s largest peer-to-peer voice network.” To read the extended version of his perspectives, please click here.

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