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Skype launched its Connect 1.0 enterprise VoIP calling service Monday even as it prepared to float an IPO for $100 million. At the same time, the company declined to comment on a report that Cisco was considering making a $5 billion bid for Skype.
In Beta testing for more than a year, the Skype service has attracted more than 2,400 business customers, the company said.
The campaign to sign up corporate users also comes just days after Google announced an easy connection between its Gmail and VoIP calls. While Google didn't say it is targeting corporate users, it's clear that corporate and business users who already are committed to gmail will be likely candidates to use the Google service.
As for Cisco, the unconfirmed rumor from TechCrunch notwithstanding, the networking infrastructure giant already has a Skype Connect-certified link for SIP PBX calls so a relationship between the two wouldn't be difficult to establish. Skype Connect is also certified to operate with Avaya, SIPFoundry, ShoreTel, Siemens and Freetalk among others.
Skype has nearly 600 million registered users, but most of them call other registered uses free-of-charge. Business users - a tiny minority of the Skype world - pay $6.95 a line a month. Skype also has additional services like SkypeOut and SkypeIn. SkypeOut connects calls to landlines at about $2.1 cents a minute while SkypeIn provides users with a call-in phone number for a small monthly fee.