12 Comments

Summary:

Skype users, particularly small and medium-sized businesses, are getting a new powerful desktop tool that brings a lot of Google Voice management features to Skype. MySkypeOffice offers a host of in-bound call management tools for businesses that rely on Skype as their phone system.

myskypeofficelogo

Looking to capture a bigger slice of the lucrative market for small and medium-sized businesses, MySkypeOffice is rolling out a powerful desktop tool similar to Google Voice. MySkypeOffice, which is launching today in a free beta, offers a host of in-bound call management tools for businesses that rely on Skype as their phone system.

The features include the ability to dial by name or extension, and group users by department. MySkypeOffice can also route calls to any number, not just another Skype account, and can transcribe voicemails. Users can also record calls and use custom hold music for callers, and there’s the ability to screen voicemails as they come in and receive faxes. Users just need a Skype account.

As I said, there are a lot of Google Voice-like features in MySkypeOffice, which makes sense because the company behind it is a spinoff of PhoneFusion, which offers PhoneFusion One, a white-label call management system with similar features. PhoneFusion, if you recall, recently had its VisualVoicemail app pulled from Android Market for unknown reasons; Google is keeping mum about it. But the company is back on track having uploaded a new VisualVoicemail app to Android Market.

The work on PhoneFusion One and MySkypeOffice shows that the real business is in call management tools. I think MySkypeOffice is a good option for small businesses because it allows them to leverage Skype and tailor it to their needs. Skype has focused mostly on consumers and has made a more recent play for corporate customers. It has some modest management features, but not the complete suite of tools like MySkypeOffice. The market for small and medium-sized businesses is substantial, and with tools like MySkypeOffice, more businesses can turn to Skype as their phone system.

The service is available by invitation-only through myskypeoffice.com. It is scheduled for a full rollout in the second quarter.

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  1. Yeah and *that* won’t attract the attention of Skype’s lawyers..

  2. I’m wary, as they…
    1 – Ask me for my Skype userid and password but not in an OAuth kind of way.
    2 – Seem to use styles very similar to the official Skype site, but “but is not endorsed, certified or otherwise approved in any way by Skype”
    3 – Doesn’t have a valid SSL cert.

    Update: now it’s a closed beta; no more asking for credentials.

    1. Good points. And… Skype seems to withdraw API permissions suddenly, and I wouldn’t want a business to depend on this until Skype had given public support to the effort.

    2. @Paul:

      I’m with the company. We ask for your password because our testing found it was easier for us to a) setup call forwarding and b) create the four buddies necessary for MSO to work rather than put that burden on the end user.

      That’s why this it’s BETA, so we can gather feedback on all aspects of the product. We will note your concern and put an option in to NOT do the automatic “stuff” for you and give you instructions on doing it yourself. We’re just trying to be as easy on the end user as possible.

      RE: SSL. Good point. It’s one of those “obvious” things that was overlooked, thanks for pointing it out.

      RE: the “not endorsed..” language is a Skype requirement to be in compliance with their terms and conditions to use the public API, which our app does. We are required to display that.

      Thanks for the comments/feedback.
      Mike.

      1. @Mike – I wish you the best with this. It looks like you have built something that Skype should have built on their own, and they should be grateful that you are expanding their core capabilities in this way.

        May it result in a purchase offer, not a C&D letter.

  3. david (from Israel) Thursday, March 17, 2011

    Rayn, go to http://www.navoto.com. they do the same but much much more…

    1. Not even close to being the same. MySkypeOffice does not need any adapters or SIM cards whatsoever which Navoto uses.

      Geez David – why dont you read first !!!

    2. I guess that’s cool except the part where not everyone in America has a SIM. Plus, that is hardware. This seems more like software to me.

  4. How fast can you say “Cease and desist letter” ?

    My bet is this site will vanish within the next 48 hours. Seems to have picked up a lot of press (strangely as it looks very amateur to me) and yet it’s in breach of all Skype API and developer guidelines, including using the name “Skype” in the URL etc.

    Not in compliance with TOS = going to get nuked shortly. I can hear the lawyers warming up already ;)

    1. @Paul:

      We certainly appreciate comments and feedback, both positive and negative. If you’d like to email me we can discuss some of your concerns in a less public forum where we can be more open, if you like.

      mike@myskypeoffice.com

      Thanks,
      Mike.

      1. Hi Mike,

        They’re not my concerns, they’re yours. Unless you have express permission from Skype to do this, you are in breach of the API and SFA TOS.

        And you cannot use the name “Skype” in your brandname or URL.

        So just a heads up that you will probably, as a result of this press, be getting a call from Skype legal dept.

  5. Mihir Kothari Sunday, March 20, 2011

    Would be careful developing anything for Skype exclusively, Skype has a history of suddenly cutting off support on the API (which is what happened on our installed product) and/or copying the product. They do not seem to value app developers off their platform and that is why Zaplee is developing a GoogleVoice & SIP alternative. This looks like a great product – would like to Beta – Good Luck!

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