Microsoft, Skype Deal: Skype Means Business
Sept. 2010: Skype makes clear its intentions to target business by announcing a new channel partner program for VARs and systems integrators, designed to provide training, sales and marketing collateral to qualified partners. Skype still sells its products direct to customers, but channel partners sell their own services such as consulting, configuration, maintenance and support.
Is it any wonder that Microsoft is buying Skype for $8.5 billion? Skype is the not-so-secret wonder child of the video conferencing space. While it's often dismissed as a consumer application, a survey last year showed that most business users rely on services such as Skype for their video conferencing needs rather than high end systems from the likes of Cisco, Polycom and others. Business users and collaborative teams are now more likely to be distributed than ever before, but don't have a budget for high end video equipment. Companies are cutting back on corporate travel to save money. And it's never been more important to have regular face time with customers. The time is certainly now for video conferencing. Skype does more than connecting grandma to her grandkids on the other side of the country. And Skype over the past year has been building partnerships with heavyweights serving the business IT market and making strategic moves to solidify its intentions in the business market. Here's a look at some of those moves.