Internet telephony and chat service provider Skype, owned by eBay, today announced a potentially game-changing move, opening up to the Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) standard for its VoIP services. As evidenced by the discussion going on at Techmeme, the beta program being rolled out by the company marks a clear initiative to target enterprise customers and open up to new revenue streams.
According to the Wall Steet Journal, the new beta software – uncreatively named Skype For SIP for Business users – is expected to allow employees to make domestic and international calls using regular office telephones (PBX systems) instead of using a computer and a headset for VoIP calls, which 35% of Skype’s customers are already using for business purposes apparently. The software will also give corporate customers the ability to receive and manage inbound calls from Skype users to SIP-enabled PBX systems, enabling them to offer click-to-call functionality on websites.
Pricing hasn’t been announced yet in beta stage, but in the meantime standard rates will apply. That translates to about 2.1 cents per minute for calls to cellphones and fixed lines, and free for calls from computers to phone systems.
In other news, Skype is thinking of making its image and logo more business-friendly, meaning more boring, and for some reason it’s pitching the horrible domain name Skype.biz for its corporate solution website.
Many commentators are signaling this as a move to generate more revenue from corporate customers, with eBay looking over its shoulder, reportedly looking to offload the property if its financials start looking a bit more impressive than they do now. The company raked in $550 million in revenue last year.
What do you think of the move, and whether eBay should be considering a sale of Skype?