When Google launched its Google Voice application to all users last June, there was some talk about how the phone-management application might challenge the Skype voice over IP service for PC calling.
Small irony, then, that startup MySkypeOffice has created a phone-management application for desktop computers that lets small and midsized businesses that use Skype as their phone system manage their incoming Skype calls.
Users sign up for the free beta service with their Skype user name and password. Just like Google Voice, MySkypeOffice Desktop Call Manager lets users route calls to any number, and ensures they never miss a call while away from their computer.
MySkypeOffice includes an automatic attendant that routes in-bound callers, including those from Skype mobile, landline, SIP (Session Initiation Protocol) and faxes, by recipient name or proper extension. The attendant can be set to prompt callers to press 1 for sales, 2 for customer support, etc.
The service also records calls and e-mails them to users after the calls are terminated, provides voice mail to text transcription, offers the ability to listen to voice mail in real time and routes faxes to users via e-mail. Callers placed on hold will also hear music of the business owner's choosing.
"We think Skype is a great thing," noted MySkypeOffice on its Website. "We want to make it even better for business users. So we've been very busy creating what we hope is a set of very useful in-bound-calling features for you to use with your Skype account."
GigaOm noted that the Google Voice comparisons are fair for MySkypeOffice because the company that created it is a spinoff of Google Voice rival PhoneFusion, which provides a white-label call-management system with similar features. MySkypeOffice also mirrors functionality from VoxOx and BT's Ribbit calling platform.
MySkypeOffice is clearly providing a template for what Google Voice-like call management feels like on Skype, which is still largely a consumer platform with more than 600 million registered users.
Skype, which filed for an initial public offering last August, has expressed a desire to cater to more business customers. A service such as MySkypeOut, which provides a valuable communications-management layer for businesses, could help in this endeavor.
Skype hasn't shown a propensity for making acquisitions, but that could change if the right companies come around.