Skype Takes Aim At Business PBXes

from the lost-in-the-static dept

We wondered a couple of months ago if eBay was warming up the Skype Billion-Dollar Buyout Plan, a hype-driven business model aimed at inflating the perceived value of the unit to would-be buyers. But Skype's emerged with a real business plan to try and boost its business by targeting small- and medium-sized businesses with a version of its service that can connect to their PBX phone systems using the popular SIP standard. Skype is selling one major benefit of the service as the ability for companies to accept inbound Skype calls to their PBX system, but aside from that, it's just trying to undercut other providers' rates for outgoing calls. But perhaps the bigger issue for Skype will be the high level of reliability and support business users will demand. Few will be willing to sacrifice those metrics on something as critical as voice telephony, and Skype's 2007 outage -- and subsequent lame explanation -- may not help in this regard. Also, as a company that thrives on taking away customers from more expensive services, Skype should realize that it, too, can be undercut. If all it's offering is cheaper prices, it won't have a very strong hold on its customers when the next cheaper solution comes along.


Reader Comments (rss)

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  •  
    identicon
    Weird Harold, Mar 24th, 2009 @ 3:43am

    When business users understand that Skype is entirely dependant on the same sort of technology as P2P, I think they will run away as fast as they can. It isn't a sound business move to put your communications in the hands of a company that has not real control over it's own network.

    Skype is a nice idea, but it has way too many moving parts, most of which it cannot control.

     

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      some old guy, Mar 24th, 2009 @ 3:50am

      Re:

      ...Skype is entirely dependant on the same sort of technology as P2P...

      What technology is that? The Internet?

       

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      Yosi, Mar 24th, 2009 @ 4:17am

      Re:

      Why comment about something you have no idea? Please learn what "network" is. Next, what is "control" is. After that, learn some (don't stress yourself) about "routing".

      Than try again.

       

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      Anonymous Coward, Mar 24th, 2009 @ 5:56am

      Harold is correct, soft of.

      Harold is not referring to the Internet. What he is talking about is that Niklas Zennstrom and Janus Friis were behind both Kszah and Skype.

      Harold believes in guilt by association, and since he knows that P2P is evil he assumes that Skype is also evil.

       

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        Weird Harold, Mar 24th, 2009 @ 6:03am

        Re: Harold is correct, soft of.

        No sorry, good try trolls.

        No, what I am saying is that Skype is dependent on nodes and super nodes that are not entirely in their control (they are on other people's systems, often people who aren't entirely aware) and uses a variation on p2p to pass the data. They operate like P2P, "borrowing" bandwidth from end users.

        It also means that adding skype to your office network for calls could also mean your network resources get used for other people's phone calls as well.

        It's easier to be cheap when you aren't paying for bandwidth.

         

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          chris (profile), Mar 24th, 2009 @ 7:51am

          Re: Re: Harold is correct, soft of.

          It also means that adding skype to your office network for calls could also mean your network resources get used for other people's phone calls as well.

          uhh, yeah. that's how you get to make high quality calls for nothing.

          what is your aversion to other people's benefit? if you get a service super cheap, by helping other people get the same service super cheap, why is that so bad?

          It's easier to be cheap when you aren't paying for bandwidth.

          everyone involved is already paying for bandwidth. why do you insist that people aren't paying for bandwidth when it comes to p2p technologies.

          you have to have internet access (which some one has to pay for) in order to use skype. you can't call someone for free unless they are connected to the internet (which someone has to pay for). if there is a way to get bandwidth for free, by all means let me know, i could certainly use some.

          skype only routes calls through skype users. you have to opt in. if you have no bandwidth, you can't opt it. you make it sound like skype, or bit torrent, or any other p2p technology somehow uses bandwidth without paying for it.

           

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      Anonymous Coward, Mar 24th, 2009 @ 11:16pm

      Re:

      skype is a form of P2P

       

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    Tom, Mar 24th, 2009 @ 3:54am

    WTF Harold

    Harold,
    What is wrong with you? Are you doing this just for attention? Don't you have a job? Do you have a mental disorder?

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 24th, 2009 @ 4:19am

    He always seems to reply almost a half hour after Mike posts, no matter what time of the day it is. I'm starting to wonder if it is just some guy doing it for attention...

     

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    R. Miles, Mar 24th, 2009 @ 4:24am

    Once again, Harold, you're totally clueless.

    When business users understand that Skype is entirely dependant on the same sort of technology as P2P.
    Wait, you mean client to server, which is how the entire damn internet works?

    Also, not one company out there has control over its network. A backbone goes down in Kansas, and San Fransisco is without internet service.

    Skype is a different approach using the technology which is already available. Not once have I ever read about its purpose in controlling the technology.

    Someone posted you have your own Techdirt-like site. Is this true?

    I can't believe it is. If so, then, by your previous posts, I can assume you:
    -Charge users on a pay-per-view license scheme.

    -Allow no one to copy even a 1x1 pixel of your site due to copyright, and require everyone to pay to do so.

    -Cover your website with hundreds of ads to pay for its support.

    -Host it on a technology no one's ever seen before, so you can maintain full control over it.

    -Have articles written by only big name stars, because no-names are non-existent.

    -Must take tons and tons of pictures, because anything you use on the site would be copyright by someone else.

    No wonder you post here all the time, given there's a good chance there are no comments on your site to take up your time.

    The symptoms of ignorance can be removed with a small dose of education.

    Bend over. It's time for your shot.

     

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    Weird Harold, Mar 24th, 2009 @ 4:59am

    Can't you guys discuss the topic and not me? R Miles in particular, please go get a dog or something else you can give attention to. Your comments are meaningless.

    No, i don't do it for attention. Actually, I do this while my computer is doing some other work for me. Killing time between the parts where I work.

    Skype: How does skype work? P2P:

    http://www1.cs.columbia.edu/~library/TR-repository/reports/reports-2004/cucs-039-04.pdf

    P erhaps How Skype works:

    http://www.technologyevangelist.com/2008/05/a_bit_about_how_skyp.html

     

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      some old guy, Mar 24th, 2009 @ 5:08am

      Re:

      I give up. You're too fucking retarded to educate.

       

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      Anonymous Coward, Mar 24th, 2009 @ 6:59am

      Re:

      Maybe, if you didn't comment on every topic, especially when you lack even a hint of knowledge of the topic. You seem to have some sort of written Tourette syndrome. But you'd rather make some lame-ass comment, proving your ignorance, on EVERY SUBJECT. Maybe if you'd just STFU for a while, people would discuss the post, and not the asshole commenter.

       

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        Weird Harold, Mar 24th, 2009 @ 7:13am

        Re: Re:

        May I suggest you take your own advice and SFTU and more importantly, stay on topic? Geez. Debate the posts, not the poster!

         

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          Anonymous Coward, Mar 24th, 2009 @ 7:25am

          Re: Re: Re:

          You're the topic, Harold. You really must think you're a genius, and you're gracing us with your opinion. Really, you're just stinking the place up. Again, if you would simple put down your keyboard, and shut the fuck up for a while, maybe people will quit picking on you. Otherwise, you're just another loudmouth asshole.

           

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      Sean Henry, Mar 24th, 2009 @ 7:38am

      Re:

      People take your own advice if you do not want to see him posting do not respond to the posts. I'm tired to all the posts of the ignorant that are to self concerned to look at other peoples views and information before just responding "Your a fucking idiot".

      Now back to the topic:
      "Skype has no central server to maintain the network. Instead, Skype uses peer to peer technology to decentralize the network and to help ensure a very high uptime percentage. Once you log in to Skype, your system becomes part of the network itself helping to decentralize the load of routing phone calls. This also means that your computer will be used as a node so a bit of your bandwidth and CPU will be borrowed to help the rest of the Skype network, even if you're not in a phone call."

      Sounds alot like P2P to me.

       

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      R. Miles, Mar 24th, 2009 @ 7:43am

      Re:

      R Miles in particular, please go get a dog or something else you can give attention to. Your comments are meaningless.
      Make you a deal: You stop posting ignorant comments and I'll quit replying to them.

      I notice how you tell others to STFU, so why not take your own advice?

      It's one thing to reply with something relevant to the topic at hand, but all you do is denounce every damn one.

      Worse, you do so with misinformation. So, it is my job (as well as others), to constantly correct you so another reader isn't misguided by your ignorance.

      It's one thing to make a comment, but quite another when people give you definitive information to the contrary, but you dismiss it with a "STFU" reply.

      So, the next step is yours: Take your own advice or deal with the crap your replies get.

       

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    Dale Montonye, Mar 24th, 2009 @ 5:55am

    Cheaper methode comes along

    It already has. Magicjack.

     

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    Joel Coehoorn, Mar 24th, 2009 @ 6:30am

    Good Idea

    This actually seems like a pretty good idea. Yes, there are outage concerns. But Skype isn't trying to _replace_ your existing PBX. It want to hook into that PBX and run _in addition to it_. If Skype goes down, you still have your existing system in place. What Skype will do is allow you to save costs by automatically routing calls through Skype when possible. If it can't use Skype, a traditional call is placed. And all this works with your users' existing equipment.

     

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    silentsteel (profile), Mar 24th, 2009 @ 6:51am

    Skype might have a problem here

    There are other companies already offering the same thing, (VoSKY-http://www.vosky.com) or similar, (Etherspeak-http://www.etherspeak.us). Both of these companies were demoing production products to a company I was working for 3 months ago, which does not sound like a long time until you consider that with the economy the way it is, few companies are going to want to change product lines just because Skype thinks they should.

    VoSky uses Skype to make its connections. Why would I, as one with purchasing authority, go with Skype's offering when VoSKY has had months to work out bugs.

     

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    chris (profile), Mar 24th, 2009 @ 7:21am

    never thought i would see skype work with SIP

    skype has always been very closed. it's really cool, but being closed off makes it hard to use it the way that you can use SIP or AIX.

    i am of two minds about this news:

    part of me says "it's about freakin time" and it optimistic about easier integration with skype and sip.

    part of me says "too little, too late" and is pessimistic about what protectionist crap skype is going to pull against products like opensky:
    http://www.gizmo5.com/pc/opensky
    or the venerable vosky someone else mentioned.

    skype has been so closed off for so long, that hacks and workarounds have been the norm when integrating with skype.

    i have a vosky internet phone wizard (do they even make those anymore?) that i use to connect skype to the wiring in my house and my sipura ATA in this weird little daisy chain of boxes.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 24th, 2009 @ 7:42am

    As someone that worked on VoIP software for 7 years I can say that Skype has an uphill battle. Internet users (mostly home users) getting free or very cheap calls are willing to put up with quality issues, businesses are not. Any business that uses Skype for its phone lines will have quality issues from time to time. There is no guarantee of quality with skype, there are too many variables skype cannot control, the biggest one being bandwidth. Skyps'e plan can only work for really low volume businesses. I expect Skype's effort here will not go far. If they have any chance of making this work then getting the service functioning will need to be cheap and 'moron in a hurry' easy.

     

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    Dennis, Mar 24th, 2009 @ 8:29am

    Totally off the subject

    I know this is totally off the subject but I'd actually like to comment about the article.

    First off all this service could possibly do is cut down your long distance bill. As previously stated I connects to your existing PBX, which you already own. Next you'll need to bump up your Internet speed to handle the extra traffic. You wont be able to drop any phone lines because when the Internet connection goes out or gets hi-jacked (this happens to small businesses more than you think) you'll still need to talk to your customers. And finally you'll have to have your inter-connect come in and reprogram your phone switch to access the Skype lines for you outgoing long distance calls.

    By this time you've probably spent enough to buy a VoIP card for your switch and just let the PBX control everything. That is if your switch can accept a VoIP card, if not you need to replace it. At which point your better off to go with a company like Packet Eight(Sym:EIGH)that sells VoIP PBX's and phone service packages.

    And as far as Harold goes, he seems like the only person that actually did know what he was talking about (at least in the first 12 posts).

     

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    guy one, Mar 24th, 2009 @ 8:42am

    lets see hear i am... a Peer, i just emailed my friend, he is a peer also. wow did i break the law i just created a P2P network... ohhh and i sent him a file... so now i just created my own P2P network.....

     

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