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Skype Taps ShoreTel for Enterprise Play

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shoretel_logo_color_3dSkype has tapped Unified Communications (UC) provider ShoreTel Inc. as the first partner for its enterprise-focused Skype-for-SIP offering. The companies announced a deal today to allow ShoreTel’s 11,000 customers to register for the beta version of Skype for SIP, a PBX-centric product targeted at small- and medium-sized businesses.

Skype for SIP, which was unveiled earlier this year, is a simplified version of Skype Asterisk that allows businesses and employees to receive inbound calls through SIP-enabled UC systems from its 400 million-plus users. ShoreTel customers can also use the product to direct outbound calls from devices on ShoreTel’s UC system to landlines and mobile phones at Skype rates. Both SIP products are an effort to build on Skype’s presence in the enterprise, where the company’s success has so far been limited.

“Our research shows that 35 percent (of users) are using Skype for business today, and when we looked at how we could improve that, we saw two main business tracks,” Chris Moore, senior product manager for Skype for Business, told me. “One was Unified Communication, and the second was this huge demand for connectivity. You have some existing infrastructure, and businesses want to be connected to Skype for low-cost international calling.”

Skype had hoped to boost revenues in advance of eBay’s sell-off of the business. While critics have described Skype for SIP as “barren of everything that makes Skype meaningful and invaluable in the workplace,” there’s no doubt that there’s substantial opportunity when it comes to delivering more affordable telecom services to small- to medium-sized businesses — especially in a sluggish economy.

9 Responses to “Skype Taps ShoreTel for Enterprise Play”

  1. Well, Skype only can be a real UC when allow all connections and telepresence connectors with other systems… like MSN, Yahoo!, AIM, and of course with companies using OCS. If messaging and VoIP is not enabled between all those systems, I believe will be dificult to use Skype in the company… my opinion anyway.

  2. If Skype really wants some of the SMB market they need to offer their own end to end virtual PBX. I have plenty of clients who run Skype on every desktop in their organization for calls between employees/vendors/clients. They also still have traditional key systems or are using voip and virtual PBX services (vocalocity,,

    If Skype were to offer them 1 main phone number for their business that would give the caller an option to be routed to the Skype desktop this would be something my clients would purchase. An enhanced control panel that mapped extensions to skype ID’s or groups of skype ID’s (support/sales/etc) would be a winner.

    • This sounds right. I can’t see a win here for Skype if they’re just selling cheap minutes, but I can see value in offering the full client features (plus a few) coordinated and consolidated in a virtual PBX structure.

    • I agree… some of the extras (like ours) do provide that functionality. Only issue is that you can’t used the unlimited calling subscription for the SIP enabled tools. I wouldn’t be surprised if they were working on a version of their own.

  3. The question is, how much does the SMB market need what Skype is delivering? I’ve got a feeling that the little retailer in Cedar Rapids, Iowa couldn’t give a rip that they have access to “Skype for low-cost international calling.”…..the critic is correct, all this means is that Skype becomes a “feature” for ShoreTel phones.

    Here’s another way of looking @ it – what volume of all the ShoreTel calls placed would take advantage of low cost international pricing AND to have this be meaningful to Skype’s bottom line? Not enough to make your post or my response to it worthwhile……