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Skype Announces Skype For Business

CowboyNeal posted more than 8 years ago | from the ready-for-the-bigtime dept.

102

conq writes "Skype has launched a new offensive to go after small business dollars. From the BusinessWeek article: 'The company is unveiling Skype for Business, aimed at small companies with fewer than 10 employees, on Mar. 9. Skype for Business will include a new Web site, Skype.biz, as well as a host of features and hardware. While Skype has introduced features appealing to business users one by one for the past six months, the new announcement marks the beginning of a concerted effort.'"

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fp for gnaa (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14889774)

i fail it , i know

Non Intel based businesses? (4, Funny)

Average_Joe_Sixpack (534373) | more than 8 years ago | (#14889776)

If a company uses Apple or AMD systems, does that mean they have to fire 5 employees?

Re:Non Intel based businesses? (1)

creimer (824291) | more than 8 years ago | (#14889800)

They just have to buy two systems instead of one. Everyone makes money except the small business person who could probably get a better deal with the local teleco for hard-wired phones.

Re:Non Intel based businesses? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14889888)

No, they use Asterisk and a non-proprietary provider.

No More Phones? (4, Insightful)

DarkNemesis618 (908703) | more than 8 years ago | (#14889780)

I guess actual phones are becoming obsolete. There's something to be said though about the reliability of phone lines. Should the network go down, Skype would become useless. Most business networks are pretty reliable but still aren't perfect.

Re:No More Phones? (2, Interesting)

AIX-Hood (682681) | more than 8 years ago | (#14889892)

Well that's the real problem right there. How do you call your ISP for network outage support when your phone lines (skype controlled) are down also. Suddenly people start reaching for cell phones.

Re:No More Phones? (2, Insightful)

just_von (791649) | more than 8 years ago | (#14890166)

How do you call your phone company when your phones are down to tell them you have a problem?

"when phones are down" (2, Insightful)

God'sDuck (837829) | more than 8 years ago | (#14890665)

phones go down?

Re:"when phones are down" (1)

Nicholas Evans (731773) | more than 8 years ago | (#14894841)

Believe it or not, yes, they do go down from time to time. The phone companies have some ridiculous amount of uptime, though. I think it's 99.9999%?

Re:No More Phones? (1)

TubeSteak (669689) | more than 8 years ago | (#14891089)

How do you call your phone company when your phones are down to tell them you have a problem?
Smoke signals and/or semaphore.

Re:No More Phones? (3, Insightful)

XorNand (517466) | more than 8 years ago | (#14890905)

It's more than just phones that's going to prevent adoption. Sure, there's a good amount of tech savvy businesses out there who would be willing to use something like this. However, there are 100x times as many businesses who would be saving a ton on their phone services if they could spell VoIP. Small business phone service is ungodly expensive. In many cases, they're spending more on their telecom services per month than they do rent. I've been working with a subscriber with a small, six-person office, with five phone lines and who makes a decent chunk of long distance calls. Their phone bill is over $600/mo! And they dropped $4k the phone system hardware four years ago.

The only way 95% of small businesses out there will ever adopt VoIP is if they are handheld through the process. Even if they know they'll save a ton of dough, working phones are just too critical to companies for them to throw caution to the wind. At the risk of giving away trade secrets ;-) that's the angle the VoIP company [brightideavoip.com] I work for is taking. We seek out partnerships with independant computer techies, VARs, and consultants who have small businesses as clients. These are the people that have the ear of business owners when it comes to making technology decisions. In return, we pay the partner a monthly stipend/retainer to support the subscriber. Businesses are *much* more likley to adopt something like this if they know they have a local expert that they contact in case of problems.

While Skype is cool and can save them ton a cash what's even more important to businesses is a level of trust. I don't know a business owner in their right mind who would put their phone service in eBay's (the owner of Skype) hands. Their level of customer service is worse than Verizon.

Re:No More Phones? (1)

killjoe (766577) | more than 8 years ago | (#14892957)

Before you worry about that you should worry about actually paying for your skype call out service. They won't accept multiple credit cards, they won't let you pay with a card unless your IP is coming from a country where the card is issued, they won't let you buy more then 10 euros woth of calls at a time.

It's clear they are trying to get you to use paypal (another ebay company) which rips you off every way they can and charges outragous rates.

Skype for business? Not till you can actually buy the damned thing with a credit card of your choice and in amounts you want.

"Sounds" good to me ! (2, Interesting)

Mr. Funky (957139) | more than 8 years ago | (#14889781)

Especially the caller-log-thingie is very interesting.
Here's a link to the biz-section : http://www.skype.com/business/ [skype.com]

famouse last words? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14889795)

we're reminded of the naykid furor softwar gangster reciting 'we just whaaaana make 'great' software' [yahoo.com]

skype 2 for MacOS... (2, Interesting)

oriol (463269) | more than 8 years ago | (#14889803)

When are they ging to port skype 2 for Mac OS.
I'd really like to have visio-conferences from my powerbook...

Re:skype 2 for MacOS... (1)

pubjames (468013) | more than 8 years ago | (#14890036)

Me too!

Anyone from Skype reading this - hurry up with Skype 2 for Mac. It will be a perfect match for the latest Apple Power Books.

But does it... (1)

xtracto (837672) | more than 8 years ago | (#14890580)

I am waiting for the Linux version... at least they should just make a closed API that worked on Linux and let the Open Source developers make the GUIs etc... I would love that.

Re:skype 2 for MacOS... (1, Funny)

ArsenneLupin (766289) | more than 8 years ago | (#14890568)

When are they ging to port skype 2 for Mac OS.

Real soon now. Now that Mac OS runs on Intel CPUs there's really no real reason any more to hold back.

So what will PPC users be restricted to ;) (1)

denjin (115496) | more than 8 years ago | (#14890628)

So are they going to let the PPC have as many connections as the Intel side? ;)

So when your DSL goes down.... (3, Interesting)

frinkacheese (790787) | more than 8 years ago | (#14889809)

You go to the pub :-) Cus you won't be able ot diddly squat as you'll have skype for telephony, gmail for email, and the new google web office suite for your applications.

Re:So when your DSL goes down.... (2, Interesting)

lukewarmfusion (726141) | more than 8 years ago | (#14889997)

For some of us, losing your Internet connection is the worst part of that. Unless I'm updating my accounting or writing a proposal that doesn't need any additional research, there's almost nothing I can do. I take advantage of those times to play around in Ruby on Rails or read a book.

Not all businesses are as dependent on Internet as mine (web development)... But many businesses still keep their cell phones around. And with some VoIP providers, you can have your calls forwarded to your cell phone.

Re:So when your DSL goes down.... (1)

shokk (187512) | more than 8 years ago | (#14890887)

Not if the taps aren't working at the bar, or if the beer truck failed to show. Every business has its lynchpin.

Re:So when your DSL goes down.... (1)

TheFlyingGoat (161967) | more than 8 years ago | (#14890911)

Many companies already have this issue, since their Internet connection is carried on the same line as their phones. My previous employer had fibre that carried all of it. When planning the system, we took into consideration that the connection could go down, but that's exactly the same as if our phone lines would have gone down prior to the switch. We had analog backups for the digital lines, so our customers could still get through; our fax lines were analog, so we could still send those; and we could still work locally on our network.

Not every employee needs 24/7 Internet access, despite what they claim.

Skype for Linux (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14889830)

All I want is Skype for Linux for work properly with alsa. Is that too much to ask?

Re:Skype for Linux (4, Interesting)

ajs318 (655362) | more than 8 years ago | (#14889857)

And while we're at it, the source code would be nice.

Failing that, just use a commonly-available hardware SIP phone which will work with the Asterisk software PABX.

Shype vs Microsoft. (-1, Offtopic)

Vo0k (760020) | more than 8 years ago | (#14889831)

the dogfight [bitefight.pl] here.
(ok, you need lots of imagination. And I need a few gp)

So what will the big phone companies do now? (2, Insightful)

digitaldc (879047) | more than 8 years ago | (#14889839)

They will have to lower their prices for their services, otherwise they will start losing millions. So this a win-win situation for the consumer?

Re:So what will the big phone companies do now? (2, Funny)

aussie_a (778472) | more than 8 years ago | (#14889852)

Except for the idiots who migrate completely to Skype, it is a win-win for consumers. But then, the business world isn't intended for idiots to survive.

Re:So what will the big phone companies do now? (2, Interesting)

IflyRC (956454) | more than 8 years ago | (#14889964)

The news of AT&T buying Bellsouth this week has prompted a lot of new speculation on how the phone companies plan on competing. Most of it has to do with media. With high speed DSL lines, phone companies could offer many of the same services cable providers offer today. Especially view on demand type services.

So, it's possible that we will see great diversification on the telco side with other companies like Skype coming in to fill in the gaps.

Most small businesses though would probably choose to bundle their internet access, landline and mobile phone charges therefore the telcos still win. It would be hard to convince me as a business owner to continue to pay my telco or cable provider for an internet connection in addition to the cost of one of these setups. Just choose a telco bundled service offering and save.

Re:So what will the big phone companies do now? (1)

NateTech (50881) | more than 8 years ago | (#14896474)

Not that Qwest is a good example of a telco trying to do this, but their limited deployment of what they call "VDSL" with television streamed from the head end to your house hasn't grown beyond the test area in Highlands Ranch, CO in a number of years.

Something must have been wrong with the business model, or they just didn't do it right. The people that have it say it's a good bundled package, and their speed tests, etc... are good, but it's not expanding and hasn't for some time.

Re:So what will the big phone companies do now? (4, Insightful)

oirtemed (849229) | more than 8 years ago | (#14890084)

That is one theory. The other theory involves lobbying and new laws.

Re:So what will the big phone companies do now? (1)

LnxAddct (679316) | more than 8 years ago | (#14890836)

The third theory involves the big phone companies simply degrading the quality of alternative voice services.
Regards,
Steve

Re:So what will the big phone companies do now? (2, Insightful)

garcia (6573) | more than 8 years ago | (#14890253)

They will have to lower their prices for their services, otherwise they will start losing millions. So this a win-win situation for the consumer?

They are going to charge for the bandwith to go over their lines, attempt to pay off legislators to block its adoption, make sure it becomes "unreliable" when reaching customers that use their lines, put millions into advertising against it, etc.

With the (again, bleh) continued consolidation of the telcos, they are only getting stronger. You think that they are going to stand by while some grassroots/cheaper option takes over? Give me a break.

Re:So what will the big phone companies do now? (1)

harmic (856749) | more than 8 years ago | (#14894127)

It's always interesting to see who slashdot readers back in a fight.

In one corner - huge behemoth telcos

In the other corner - a one-time startup, who have devised a system based on proprietary protocols which they refuse to publish, and is totally inoperable with recognised standards; now owned by a behemoth of net retailing

No contest - proprietary systems & protocols are lower in the slashdot pecking order than the age-old net-head vs. bell-head rivalries and embedded hatred of telco operators (especially if there is a linux implementation available)

Re:So what will the big phone companies do now? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14892330)

The BIGGEST is already saying what they will do.
While the AT&T COO said in a Business Week interview that "23% of our revenues are subject to being cannibalized by VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) and things, after the merger, that's now only 17% of our revenues. And the revenue stream that is subject to broadband cable competition is only about 6% of revenues.
He also commented about VOIP strategy in an analyst conference, described in ajc.com this week, "(Cingular is) in the midst of developing new services that are meant to reshape its business.
One big effort involves phones that combine features of landlines and cellphones. Such devices can work off a wireless network at home, with calls traveling via the Internet, and then morph to function as cellphones when a user leaves the house. With Cingular under AT&T's roof, unveiling this kind of service should be easier than under three separate operations. "This merger paves the way for faster progress," said Randall Stephenson, AT&T's chief operating officer.

Then will AT&T block other VOIP traffic from it's DSL lines, or allow other providers to compete freely on "their pipes"?

Congratulations, Skype! (4, Funny)

Jugalator (259273) | more than 8 years ago | (#14889843)

I believe you're the first non-spammer to use a .biz domain!
There should be an award for these things to improve .biz adoption. ;-)

Re:Congratulations, Skype! (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14889867)

not taking into account the number of ppl in Bizkaia (Biscay, Spain) that have been using it for years...

Re:Congratulations, Skype! (1)

Jugalator (259273) | more than 8 years ago | (#14889933)

rofl, I hope you didn't expect me to know of the bizkaians. :-)
That's so typical of a grumpy Slashdot AC comment. :-)

Re:Congratulations, Skype! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14890453)

There was also the old PacRoot .biz tld. The collision never got resolved, iirc. So skype just bought an ambiguse name. Good for them, parts of the internet get their site, parts will get some seedy porn site or something.

Re:Congratulations, Skype! (1)

W2k (540424) | more than 8 years ago | (#14892236)

Saab (the ones who make shitty cars) also have a .biz domain. http://www.saab.biz/ [saab.biz]

With VOIP becoming more attarctive by the day.. (2, Interesting)

mysterious_w (905180) | more than 8 years ago | (#14889893)

Will governments (especially those who still have state-run telephone systems) try to figure out a way to tax this somehow? Seems a bit too good to be true.

Re:With VOIP becoming more attarctive by the day.. (3, Informative)

ajs318 (655362) | more than 8 years ago | (#14890170)

Encrypted VOIP will be damn nigh impossible to tax or regulate. Encrypted traffic is just encrypted data; and there is no way to know what it is without decrypting it. Which, depending on the encryption algorithm, may well take a long, long time and is not even certain to produce anything useful {since any given cyphertext could be the result of any one of a large number of plaintext/key pairs}.

Skype is reckoned to be encrypted, but this claim cannot be verified, as the source code is not available for perusal; it must be assumed that at least Skype themselves, and possibly The Authorities, have the power to listen to Skype calls.

SIP or IAX over SSL/TLS would be much more secure, since these are open protocols and the only secret is the encryption key.

Re:With VOIP becoming more attarctive by the day.. (1)

ajs318 (655362) | more than 8 years ago | (#14890183)

Oops. My bad. I meant, the only secret is the decryption key. Now I'm going to bash my head against the desk for an hour.

Classification of encrypted traffic (1)

shadow_slicer (607649) | more than 8 years ago | (#14892440)

Actually not all encrypted traffic streams are equal. All encryption does is hide the contents of the message from observation. Even though every packet looks the same, the stream characteristics makes it vulnerable to statistical classification.

By stream characteristics I mean timing of packets, bandwidth, endpoints, directional parity, and things like that.

Examples:
If a stream has real-time characteristics (ie. packets are roughly equally spaced in time, use more realtime protocol like UDP, etc), is bidirectional and moderate bandwidth demands it is probably VoIP. If it's only unidirectional it is almost certainly streaming audio.
If it has high bandwidth instead, maybe it's video conferencing.
If it's bandwidth comes in bursts of requests, it's probably HTTP, FTP, IMAP, or something like that.
and If it takes up as much bandwidth as is a available in any direction, it's bittorrent.

Additionally VoIP has certain servers that connect it with the POTS network. So its trivial to detect when one of these are used.

There are ways to get around this (onion routing, etc) but they are generally seen as impractical for real-time streams.

They're already trying... (2, Interesting)

kaniaro (908023) | more than 8 years ago | (#14890613)

US government has already tried it [techdirt.com] , and the FCC is on our side. For now. But when South Dakota makes abortion virtually illegal [guardian.co.uk] , do you really trust our government to do what's in our best interests? They'll do anythign they can to get their paws on it somehow. They (the illusive "man/men for proper conjugation") are trying to get us to pay for email [cbronline.com] , for fuck's sake! It's up to us and how much BS we're willing to deal with. Sony's DRM didn't last long, now did it? The market will even itself out, or that's the going theory...

Re:They're already trying... (1)

mysterious_w (905180) | more than 8 years ago | (#14891625)

I'm from Britain. Seems all we care about is Microsoft being a bully, and software patents.

Medium to big businesses (1)

eshadowrun (917452) | more than 8 years ago | (#14889897)

From the news:
"Skype has launched a new offensive to go after small business dollars. From the BusinessWeek article: 'The company is unveiling Skype for Business, aimed at small companies with fewer than 10 employees...

So..medium to big businesses can't have this baby? That's discrimination! :D

They better improve their support! (2, Insightful)

madman101 (571954) | more than 8 years ago | (#14889902)

Over two weeks to straighten out a problem. If that happened at work, we would have dumped them...

diarrheah (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14889942)

fuck all you fucking stupid fuckers

But... (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14889969)

Skype is really not the way to go with VOIP. It's entirely proprietary and doesn't allow you to communicate with other VOIP networks unlike SIP based providers. Imagine if your mobile could only call other phones on the same network...?

Re:But... (1)

cparker15 (779546) | more than 8 years ago | (#14890365)

Haven't you heard of network federation? Give it time...

Re:But... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14891476)

there is one gpl'ed software that uses SIP, does VOIP, video and chat and works great on linux
http://www.openwengo.org/ [openwengo.org]

Unintended comment (1)

Dekortage (697532) | more than 8 years ago | (#14890020)

From the article: "A lot of businesses are caught in between paying a lot of money to telcos or getting a substandard service (from consumer VoIP offerings). So Skype is entering at the right time."

You mean, just the right time to offer another VoIP offering with substandard service?

I guess it depends on your definition of "standard". Is it traditional telco-based phone service? Is it the voice quality of that service, or the range/flexibility of business features? I think there is a more platonic "ideal" phone service which none of the phone companies are hitting. I have Vonage now, and it is generally better than my Verizon or AT&T service, but still not what I really want. But what I want isn't available yet.

Re:Unintended comment (1)

shokk (187512) | more than 8 years ago | (#14890907)

They have offered a "business package" that is "easy to use". YOu should know by now that the general public doesn't always care about quality - for Pete's sake, 95% of the world uses Windows! Skype wins!

None of these services are what everybody wants. We're on the bleeding edge of this new service as far as consumers are concerned and it will take a few years to iron out.

Can I get a phone now? (1)

tbdean (163865) | more than 8 years ago | (#14890047)

So can I get a physical phone now? Everytime my phone rings I have to:

- click 'Answer'
- pause iTunes
- put headset microphone near mouth
- say "hello"
- put on headset
- turn off speakers

Skype is my only phone, I work from the house. It's rock solid reliable but I'd love one of the phones that Vonage users get:

http://www.uniden.com/products/index.cfm?cat=consu mer%20voip [uniden.com]

An ACTUAL phone, not connected to my computer, but ethernet jack in the back. I give it my Skype account and it connects.

Re:Can I get a phone now? (1)

philask (216894) | more than 8 years ago | (#14890075)

I use one of these:

http://www.voipvoice.com/UConnect.htm [voipvoice.com]

Yes it still requires my PC to be powered on but it enables my normal phone to be used as a Skype phone by simply hitting ** before I dial. Incoming calls generate a different ring pattern so you know it's a Skype call and it even passes the Caller ID to the phone. Oh and it was cheap too.

Re:Can I get a phone now? (1)

che.kai-jei (686930) | more than 8 years ago | (#14890130)

although i want to flame you for relying on proprietary software that would just make me appear ignorant. [ i assure you i am, though]

im sure if the big sip handset people approached skype with developing an alteranative firmware for skype accounts it could happen. its another market segment after all and would also benefit the smart folks at skype.
i have feeling the higher end phones mnight be the only ones that could do it with a separate firmware or just an update adidng skype to the codec/ account type list which precludes the average home casual user but maybe not small business which skype is now targetting.

skype on your snom 360?

that would be cool

Re:Can I get a phone now? (1)

jacksonj04 (800021) | more than 8 years ago | (#14890228)

There was a NETGEAR phone which appeared on /. a while back, which used WiFi to Skype where available. If there was one of these with a wired dock...?

Re:Can I get a phone now? (1)

tbdean (163865) | more than 8 years ago | (#14890692)

As long as it has a headset jack that'd work:

http://tools.netgear.com/skype/ [netgear.com]

Expected 2nd quarter 2006.

Thanks.

Re:Can I get a phone now? (1)

lastninja (237588) | more than 8 years ago | (#14890829)

Check the "pause iTunes during call" box, in the advanced tab in the preferences. Thats one step less.

Re:Can I get a phone now? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14897503)

Yes you can, there are hundreds of companies doing skype certified gear.

One is;

http://trendnet.com/skype/ [trendnet.com]

Skype didn't work for us (3, Informative)

silverbax (452214) | more than 8 years ago | (#14890057)

We signed up with Skype to test it out - it took WEEKS to get set up, although our payment cleared immediately. We never recieved real response in the way of customer service, so we moved to NetZero's VOIP - it was set up within minutes, has always worked and calls anywhere.

Skype = Hype.

Re:Skype didn't work for us (1)

philask (216894) | more than 8 years ago | (#14890081)

I got myself up and running on Skype in a matter of minutes.

Re:Skype didn't work for us (1)

madman101 (571954) | more than 8 years ago | (#14890676)

Are you talking about using just Skype or the additional services? Yes setting Skype up to call other Skype users is a no brainer. But it took over two weeks and many emails to get Voicemail working! It took over a week JUST TO GET A RESPONSE, and that was a worthless canned response. Once setup it's works great, but they need better support to sell this to businesses.

Re:Skype didn't work for us (3, Informative)

moniker_21 (414164) | more than 8 years ago | (#14890306)

I had that exact same problem. Well, almost exactly the same. It took about 24 hours and a strongly worded email from me to get my account acvitated, even though my payment had cleared already. They told me they are having intermitent problems with their payment system wherein some accounts take longer to be activated then others. It was a frusterating start, but once I did get setup I've found Skype to be pretty awesome.

Re:Skype didn't work for us (1)

ArsenneLupin (766289) | more than 8 years ago | (#14890546)

That must be because you have AMD based PC's and are a company with more than 5 employees...

Re:Skype didn't work for us (1)

roj3 (179124) | more than 8 years ago | (#14890666)

Could it have been your internet provider that was filtering internet traffic in order to control how much Skype traffic was hogging their pipes? "Skype for Business" is happening so that ISPs can easily determine what is "common" Skype and what is "profitable" Skype. Behind the scenes Skype will be making deals with the ISPs to ensure quality of service for "Skype Business" while the consumer offering remains unreliable.

Re:Skype didn't work for us (1)

silverbax (452214) | more than 8 years ago | (#14891207)

All of our issues were related to customer service and billing. When we could not get real response from customer service, we realized we might not be able to take the service seriously.

They are missing a smart move (1)

WindBourne (631190) | more than 8 years ago | (#14890105)

They should add their protocol to asterisks and sell the system to smb. Most companies would jump at the chance to lower their telephony charges.

Re:They are missing a smart move (1)

ajs318 (655362) | more than 8 years ago | (#14891282)

Asterisk is militantly Open Source. Skype is closed source. The only way Asterisk will ever support Skype is indirectly; if someone creates a compatible alternative to Skype, and releases it under the GPL.

It's going to take a lot of French Café work, or possibly even an inside job, to hack Skype's protocols open; and it's more likely that Skype will go out of business before that happens.

Re:They are missing a smart move (1)

WindBourne (631190) | more than 8 years ago | (#14891506)

Skype's strength is its codec and protocols. All Skype has to do is create closed source modules to add on. Asterisk will not care for that, but they can not stop Skype from doing that . At least not under GPL 2. Skype could then sell the resultant system to SMBs and make use of SIP and IAX based phones/ATAs.

Now as to reverse engineering, well, yes, that would take a lot of work. But it always does. And yet, it happens all the time. Think in terms of all the cracks in Windows as well as the DVD CSS.

Re:They are missing a smart move (1)

ajs318 (655362) | more than 8 years ago | (#14891701)

Asterisk can do plenty to keep Skype from creating closed-source modules. They can change the API in various subtle ways. It won't matter much to Asterisk users -- you pretty much have to compile it from source everytime anyway. But it will slow Skype down considerably if users have to patch their Asterisk to match the API version against which the Skype plugin was compiled.

Skype vs Vonage vs ...? (2, Interesting)

SEWilco (27983) | more than 8 years ago | (#14890127)

So why use Skype rather than Vonage? Vonage has fax service, I see. Any other competitors?

Re:Skype vs Vonage vs ...? (2, Informative)

Lokni (531043) | more than 8 years ago | (#14890179)

The question is... does Vonage's fax service work? In my experience... no it does not. I tried hard with several fax machines to get a fax to go over Vonage. Couldn't do it.

Re:Skype vs Vonage vs ...? (1)

ahaveland (701186) | more than 8 years ago | (#14890943)

Fax??? I vaguely remember that word being used a couple of times in the last century, but didn't cope too well with hieroglyphics.

Why not use a phone camera and file transfer and keep the trees where they belong?

In fact all average office paperwork can be photographed and archived using a digital camera, phone or scanner, then the should-be-obsoleted paper can go for recycling/energy recovery.

Should be no need for paper/fax with proper systems in place.

Inertia (1)

Mechanist (10536) | more than 8 years ago | (#14891271)

Yeah, good plan. The next time I have a customer who wants to fax me a purchase order or have me fax him an invoice, I'll just tell him to fuck off and keep his money until he gets a "proper system" in place so that I won't have to deal with faxes anymore. Yeah, I bet I'll be real successful with that approach. I'm sure customers will be just falling all over themselves to reorganize their bureaucracies to suit my need to not have faxes going in and out of my office...

Get real. I mean, what an idiotic comment. Even if you hate faxes, they're still a fact of life. I'd like to get rid of my fax machine, but I like eating and having a house even more.

Re:Inertia (1)

ahaveland (701186) | more than 8 years ago | (#14891554)

Hey, I didn't insult anyone... I got real, and don't have to tell anyone to fuck off! We have different but equally valid realities. Faxes are not a fact of *my* life as my clients are tech savvy, I get POs as PDFs, I send invoices as PDFs, and the only papers I ever see are gas/elec bills and bank statements, though the bank is online and I get SMS notifications of transfers. I don't expect to ever lose a client through not having a fax. It is taking a while, but I really do believe that faxes will eventually die out, having served their purpose as an enabler for change, which too many people find extraordinarily difficult to do. I don't hate them, they served a purpose but there are better ways of communicating now that don't involve stuffing a bit of paper into a slot that was printed out from an already existing electronic copy! I hope you'll be able to dump your fax soon too, and not lose any customers.

Re:Skype vs Vonage vs ...? (1)

SEWilco (27983) | more than 8 years ago | (#14893492)

Actually I wouldn't be using paper-based faxing. Now do you have anything to contribute about fax-compatible alternatives to POTS?

Re:Skype vs Vonage vs ...? (1)

Dare nMc (468959) | more than 8 years ago | (#14891364)

both have advantages, my understanding is that vonage calls always go through vonage. For instance I set up vonage line for the branch office I work at (actually recently switched to broadvoice) if the home office setup a vonage phone line, every time we call the main office, the call would start with my traffic going to vonage, and vonage sending traffic to the home office. voip provides for handing off the call, but because both of our contacts to vonage have to be through our firewalls, it will never fall back to our VPN network.
    Skype is supposidly truly peer-to-peer, so when I am logged in inside the corporate network, I can stay within the corporate network talking without any interaction to skype's servers during the call. At the same time, I can, without reconfiguring do the vonage thing with skype, so I log in at home with skype, then it has to contact through the firewall, through skypes servers.

now the difference isn't so great because I am running a asterisk server, so I can log in to asterisk, and call/be called through that server, but I have to use a different profile in, and out of the corporate network.

Re:Skype vs Vonage vs ...? (1)

gothzilla (676407) | more than 8 years ago | (#14893255)

http://www.skype.com/products/explained.html [skype.com]
"A true P2P system, in our opinion, is one where all nodes in a network join together dynamically to participate in traffic routing-, processing- and bandwidth intensive tasks that would otherwise be handled by central servers."

Of course your traffic isn't passing through Skype's servers. It doesn't need to. It's passing through everyone elses machine thats using Skype.

With vonage your traffic goes through only one other party while with Skype it passes through everyone.

If you want true point to point communications that doesn't pass through anyone's pc's but your ISP and the hops in between then just use NetMeeting that's built into Windows.

Security? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14890168)

Does this mean they'll be encrypting the calls finally? Or is a simple man-in-the-middle attack still enough to get your conversations?

Re:Security? (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14890794)

Toronto Wifi Network (2, Interesting)

Old Number 7 (960257) | more than 8 years ago | (#14890333)

With the Toronto downtown core going WIFI we might consider purchasing WIFI VOIP phones for employees. I do not know how the wireless companies plan to compete in this new market.

Skype can be turned into a botnet ... (3, Interesting)

tonk (101504) | more than 8 years ago | (#14890348)

... is what some smart people demonstrated at BlackHat Europe: Silver Needle in the Skype [secdev.org]

The real question (1)

roballo (960259) | more than 8 years ago | (#14890369)

Will it support "Lawful Intercept" (wire taps) and 911 + location reporting ?

Stiff competition (3, Interesting)

grasshoppa (657393) | more than 8 years ago | (#14890612)

They have some stiff competition from Asterisk, which is just starting to gain some serious momentum.

Would you rather have;

1) A completely open system, based on commodity hardware

or

2) Locked in system?

Most people I talk with love asterisk BECAUSE it's based on standards. These are business owners I'm talking about. They dislike avaya's and co attempts to lock them in, and appreciate asterisk's openness.

Well, that, and asterisk can do *ANYTHING*.

Add in the fact they setup arbitrary limitations, and I don't think they are taking the business sector seriously.

Re:Stiff competition (1)

dago (25724) | more than 8 years ago | (#14897361)

the answer is (3) a system that is easy to use. That's why Skype is a success and all other SIP-based VoIP solutions never had a significant impact.

Oh, and yes, I'm an happy asterisk user and I avoid skype.

BTW, talking about avaya, they also took lessons from Skype, and now have p2p ip phones ... and all major players are moving to SIP (cf voicecon).

Fonality (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14890649)

I'm more a fan of the asterisk based setups. I read about www.fonality.com in Business2.0 recently and got a quote from them. Certainly a viable alternative w/ some sweet features.

If skype wants to win they need ASTERISK (1)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 8 years ago | (#14890826)

ASTERISK support or at least the ability to support other Voip PBX systems like the Cisco and others out there popular with business.

Most businesses dont want seperate phones but a phone system unless you are a one man shop trying to look like a bigger business.

i 3 skype period (1)

deviceb (958415) | more than 8 years ago | (#14890897)

Skype is one company i love. I use it everyday with my girl in boston. audio-video. Then when we play silk road (silkroadonline.com) We use it in conference for peoples in our guild. 4-5 people max usually at one time. -video games -women -beer? if somehow it let me drink beer.. or order some i would add that. Linksys now has the wireless phone for skype, and there is always that USB hookup for normal cordless phones to plug in. If somebody i know does not have skype, i tell them to get it. Once they use it they always keep it... So for me it does not matter if i can not talk to other VoIP networks. It covers all my bases

Cripple Ware (1)

Saeed al-Sahaf (665390) | more than 8 years ago | (#14890964)

The "Business" version of a product always has better features than the cripple-ware "Consumer" version. I wonder which one people will want? Skype has peaked and is on the downhill side anyway...

asterisk and salesforce (1)

xarius76 (826419) | more than 8 years ago | (#14891095)

While I am a total asterisk fanboy, I've always been impressed with skype's call quality and ease of use. Seeing them turn to the business side in this respect (namely salesforce) is a huge move for them. There are company's searching for this sort of functionality like wild packs of hungry wolves.

Asterisk really needs this sort of integration within salesforce. All it would take is a small desktop client that will talk with the asterisk box to make this work. If the asterisk community were to come up with something that would rival Skype's salesforce integration, I can think of over a dozen companies I know personally who would JUMP at the chance of implementing an open standards based system over skype (or the other provider, http://www.five9.com/ [five9.com] .

Skype is hitting the pipe (1)

slashdot_commentator (444053) | more than 8 years ago | (#14891188)

Maybe its me, but what SMALL businessman is going to gamble mediocre voice quality and phone outages based on local internet conditions just to save money "they wanted to spend anyway"? Yes, telco contracts are significantly more expensive than residential, but its for a reason. Its not because small businesses want to be fleeced, its to get 99.999% uptime. Its for someone to yell at when the phone service goes down, and then to actually have the service restored in the shortest time possible. No small businessman is going to risk a 2 hour outage that deter customers with 6 figure contracts. Even if it was reliable as telco support, getting mediocre voice quality is going to send a wrong message to customers. The only instance where I see this working is someplace with lots of internal or B&B communication; a union office or HealthSouth. Even then, they're going to have to keep regular phone service for the "front office". Am I missing something here?

Re:Skype is hitting the pipe (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14891896)

I use SkypeOut for business purposes, and I find the sound quality is at least as good as regular phone lines, if not better. The connection has always been problem free as well, and am close to 100 hours worth of international calls.

No small businessman is going to risk a 2 hour outage that deter customers with 6 figure contracts

Then again, small businessmen don't deal with 6 figure contracts every day. Most daily calls will deal with minor, or even trivial matters. Even if a missed call could mean the loss of a big contract, they can still use a regular phone line as backup.

Transclick and Skype (1)

end15 (607595) | more than 8 years ago | (#14891676)

Skype does have an interesting partner in Transclick (home.transclick.com). I'm not sure if this is vaporware but Transclick does appear to have a good translation application for international business. It should allow users speaking different languages to communicate with each other. Sort of an online babblefish. Anyone have experience with the two?

Call me crazy, but Google should buy Skype. (1)

tetrahedrassface (675645) | more than 8 years ago | (#14891945)

Google should buy skype and extend it quickly out to all users, and refine skype out so thats its more effective. Google and Skype could be a match made in heaven if it were done correctly, and might serve to counter the newly resurgent Ma Bell thing that appears to be ressurecting itself. Competetion is good, and Skype + Google could be a great low cost tool in Googles portfolio. Vonage is okay but the rates are wacked, because you still have to have a line and that requires a telephone provider.
Just my opinion but Google should buy Skype and get it cooking. :)

Re:Call me crazy, but Google should buy Skype. (1)

Live_in_Dayton (805960) | more than 8 years ago | (#14894559)

Google can't buy Skype unless it buys Ebay too. How did this comment get moderated up?

What Is It? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14892207)

I read that article and I may be missing something but from what I read, it did not explain one single thing as to what the service is or how it differs from regular skype.

I'm getting tired of these press releases masquerading as news.

It is for business with 9 to 10 employees and has new tools???? Ok what the hell does that mean - that is biggest nonsense article - I like skype and agree that the small biz telephone market is totally underserved but what the hell is it - did anybody else wonder what it does?

Integration BABY!! (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14892250)

If you are like most small businesses, you probably use MS products, you probably have an Win2000 or Win2003 server, and if you want to stick with open standards (SIP)...

Maybe you should look at Vonexus from Interactive Intelligence (ININ).

This is the king of the the SIP IP telephony small business world. Taking their queues from their big brother CIC, king of the SIP IP Call Center industry.
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