As the company looks to boost revenue in 2011 in advance of an IPO, Skype is pursuing an aggressive enterprise strategy. Today, Skype’s VP of Enterprise, David Gurle, is announcing a strategic partnership with Citrix Online, in which web conferencing software GoToMeeting will be integrated into Skype’s enterprise offering, Skype For Business.
Skype For Business is a paid desktop product that includes capabilities for multi-party video chat, screen sharing and conference calls. But the drawback of the product is that screen sharing cannot take place with multi-party video chat simultaneously.
With the addition of GoToMeeting, enterprise users will be able to turn on video chat for up to 10 participants as well ass conduct screen sharing courtesy of GoToMeeting. In addition, users will also be able to user GoToMeeting to create online audio conferencing meetings that users can join via Skype or through public switched telephone network (PSTN) phone numbers. The functionality will use Skype’s SILK audio codec, which will improve audio quality. We’re told the integration will roll out towards the end of this year or the beginning of 2012.
Currently, Gurle says that 37 percent of all Skype users are using the VoIP product for enterprise or business use. Of course, the challenge for Skype is getting business users to actually pay for the enterprise product. As we learned last August, only 8.1 million of out of a total of 560 million registered users at the time were paying to use Skype’s services. He feels that the addition of GoToMeeting to the business product will increase usage of the product from both big companies and small businesses. “Web and audio conferencing has been among the top requested features by our business users,” he tells us.
Skype isn’t commenting on the financial terms of the deal, but says that this is a strategic partnership that “has many dimensions.” It’s unclear what those dimensions are, but we can assume that Skype must be paying to license Citrix’s technology.
It’s important to note that the fact that Citrix and Skype are teaming up is in direct competition to Cisco, whose WebEx product competes with GoToMeeting. Last year, Skype brought on Tony Bates, who ran the enterprise group at Cisco, as CEO, following reports that Cisco was actually making a run for Skype. While Skype is pursuing a public offering, the Wall Street Journal reported recently that Skype’s owners could be open to a sale at $5 billion to $6 billion.