IT Managers Cant Afford to Ignore Skype

Opinion: Like all viral technologies, Skype ultimately will not be stopped at the enterprise door.

Voice over IP is here, sort of. In one of the few cases of enterprise and carrier technology being way ahead of consumer IT, VOIP is being deployed in some of the largest companies in the world, but home and individual use is still lagging, the popularity of Vonage and Skype notwithstanding.

PC-to-PC VOIP calling with Skype and other services such as Gizmo was to be the tipping point for VOIP, pushing plain old telephone service networks into the scrap heap of history. eBay was so certain it would that it paid $2.5 billion for Skype. But poor voice quality and other annoyances, and lack of a clear vision of what eBay wanted to do with Skype, slowed the hysteria somewhat. But things are changing. Like all viral technologies, Skype ultimately will not be stopped at the enterprise door, and IT managers cant afford to ignore it.

As many as 30 percent of Skypes 113 million users use Skype for business communications, according to Technical Analyst Andrew Garcias analysis and review package. Many of those users have installed and use Skype without IT supervision. Skype is aware of that situation and is set to release new administration tools to rein Skype in, but, as Garcia writes, that may not be enough, and he offers a checklist of items users and administrators should be pushing for from Skype.

Garcia is not so keen on technological advancements such as the new Skype phones that are starting to emerge. Garcia tested Wi-Fi-enabled VOIP phones from Netgear, SMC and Belkin and found that they dont hold signals well and dont allow users to roam around an office network without losing connectivity. The idea of freeing VOIP users from their PCs is a good one, but a lack of mobility provided by these early devices will keep Skype users chained to their desks, for now.

Its clear now that a big part of "Dell 2.0," which CEO Kevin Rollins coined in mid-September as a plan to snap the company out of its downward spiral, involves Advanced Micro Devices. Dell on Oct. 23 rolled out its first servers built around AMDs Opteron processor, reports Senior Editor Jeff Burt. This is a significant move by Dell, which stuck by Intel as its sole supplier too long. Its not so much that AMDs chips are better, cheaper or faster than Intels, because those points can be debated ad infinitum, but for Dell to acknowledge change in the market and give its customers new choices—well, that really is a new Dell.

Contact eWEEK Editor Scot Petersen at


Check out eWEEK.coms for the latest news, views and analysis on voice over IP and telephony.

Scot Petersen

Scot Petersen

Scot Petersen is a technology analyst at Ziff Brothers Investments, a private investment firm. Prior to joining Ziff Brothers, Scot was the editorial director, Business Applications & Architecture,...