Building on Skype’s recent announcements of its evolving Skype for Business activities, Chief Strategy Office Christopher Dean gave a keynote address yesterday at a joint VON/Channel Partners Conference session. Three posts have followed up on the session:
Khali Henderson, in Skype Not Just Telecom’s “Bad Boy”, CSO Says, reports Christopher’s overview of their approach to business markets:
“Skype is no longer just sort of the ‘bad boy,’ disruptive influence in the telecommunications market,” he said. “What we offer is strong opportunities to leverage these trends for operators and their customers.”
The company, he said, is actively seeking partnerships with service providers – wireless and wireline operators and MSOs – as well as OEMs and ISVs and applications developers, to be part of what he calls an “emerging ecosystem.” Skype’s role is to be an overlay of services – audio conferencing, video, desktop sharing, presence, IM, file sharing and more – that drive demand.
Khali reports that Christopher went on to discuss the success of Skype’s partnership with the Hutchison 3 Group and the services offered involving 3’s Skypephone as an example of how Skype has helped a partner successfully build their business.
Alec Saunders reports on the session in Skype counters critics, embraces ecosystem:
…. Skype CSO Chris Dean began his remarks at VON by saying that there is an ongoing sea change in the telecom market, and it’s only accelerating. The macro trends are around wireless, wireline, emerging applications and service models, the economy and the regulatory environment. And he warned that there are immense risks to operators that don’t adapt.
Jon Arnold, in VON – Final Day/Skype Keynote – Seeking Channel Partners, reports:
Most of us know this [the business market] is a top priority for Skype, and the most newsworthy item from the keynote was their new focus on channels, which of course ties in nicely with both events here – VON and Channel Partners. The main idea here is that Skype will be launching a service provider VAR program later this year. Christopher provided a URL about the program for reference, but as you’ll see, there’s not much there yet.
So, in the course of a few minutes, the audience heard about how Skype is looking to cross the chasm and partner with service providers. That creates all kinds of interesting scenarios, and Christopher pointed out how this is part of their bigger vision to be more open and partner-friendly in the post-eBay world. On that note, he didn’t have much to say about the Extras program other than they understand how important it is, and are overhauling it now. So, it’s not quite dead yet….
Getting out a message differentiating the Extras program as a partner marketing program, which is coming to an end, from the evolution of any forthcoming Skype developer program has been difficult challenge for Skype. I suspect Christopher was really referring to Skype understanding how important a well-articulated and effective Skype developer partner program is. Reference to the Skype Service Partner Program was made in yesterday’s post: Skype for SIP: Getting Legitimization, Endorsement and Traction.
Bottom line: Christopher’s keynote is one more sign that Skype is getting serious about its approach to the business market, building on the recent launch of Skype for Asterisk and Skype for SIP. A significant challenge will be, once Skype is embedded within business communications infrastructure as a voice calling option, to evolve such that this infrastructure can then take advantage of its presence, chat and video infrastructure.
But perhaps more important: For over six years consumers and many businesses have experienced Skype as a lowl cost or free voice, chat and, more recently, video conversation service – with minimal support from Skype itself. Skype is finally gaining acceptance, certainly now at the communications vendor level, as a viable and reliable alternative to legacy PSTN services. And Skype finally appears to be building the resources and programs required to properly support business communications operations.
This trend recalls the early days, 25 years ago, of the PC itself when adoption of the PC as an enterprise resource only came about because employees were bringing PC’s into their offices on an individual basis and demonstrating the resulting productivity and cost effectiveness to their management. Been there; done that!
Thanks to Jon Arnold for providing the pictures, with permission.
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