Tue, Mar 24th 2009 3:17am
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.
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