Microsoft and Skype — Cost Implications for the Enterprise?

Spend Matters welcomes another guest post from NPI, a spend management consultancy, focused on delivering savings in the areas of IT, telecom, transportation and energy.

What will happen when Microsoft acquires Skype? It's an $8 billion question that has prompted a lot of speculation from Wall Street and beyond. For starters, Skype isn't exactly an enterprise application. While the cost benefits are high, security, monitoring and quality issues have made the application a better fit for small business and consumer users. The company's decision to purchase Skype is widely viewed as a way for Microsoft to better compete with Cisco, Google and leading teleconferencing providers.

But with the muscle of Microsoft behind it, Skype may very well find its way into mainstream corporate America over the next several months. If you're wondering how this acquisition will impact your enterprise IT costs, here are a few thoughts to consider...

NPI anticipates that Skype will most likely be bundled into Microsoft Enterprise Agreements, similar to the way that functionality and services are bundled into Microsoft's Office 365 cloud offering. It will probably be integrated with Microsoft Lync, the company's current teleconferencing offering, as a new type of client access license.

While much of the impact will be determined over the next few months, it's wise to start gauging your company's need for Skype. Enterprises commonly overpay for bundled products and services because they don't utilize the full breadth of capabilities to maximum potential. To prevent overpaying for functionality that they don't want, Microsoft customers will have to determine if they need Skype, how they'll use it -- and if it's not needed -- how to separate and remove this cost from their Microsoft Enterprise Agreement.

-- Jeff Muscarella, EVP of IT, NPI

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