I saw this article today about Skype for Salesforce.com being launched. To me this is incredibly important move. It gives Skype access to the enterprise customer base. Now i know some of you will scoff at that but an enterprise is defined by the user itself, not IDC or some such agency. So you may only be a 3 man out fit but you finally have a seamlessly coupled IP Comms tool and CRM. It also allows the power of CRM and presence into and IP Tel tool to be unleashed (that is to deliver real business benefits).
I think this is massively important in the end game of IP Comms because up until now that space has been a two horse race (at least in the space i operate in). Those horses being Cisco and Microsoft ICA. Up until now this was religion based on network vs desktop. I thought that MS would win because it all starts and stops with the desktop, all the rest is just infrastructure. (my analogy is that it’s the Car that makes the experience, all the different bitumen road types are basically the same). The MS story is also much more complete, the presence is there, document management, IM, CRM, email. Its all once nice friendly vertically integrated stack.
Now this announcement breaks that, another enterprise player with a comms player has come in. Big impact. The Saleforce.com tie in gives Skype access to a massively important customer base, as well as corporate grade credibility. It also aids Salesforce.com in its embracing strategy (“we play with everyone) and this removes barriers to entry for them.
The other thing about this is that to me, it turns the term platform on its head. The way Appexhange is binding together applications is far different from where the Telco industry or other Service providers are looking in terms of their platform approach. Appexchange moves from being and intersoftware platform to being and interplatform platform (so to speak).
This of move is of course is massively threatening to Telco’s, especially in their cash cow SME segments. It’s the first tangible evidence of the collision of Software, Telco and web 2.0 players. Some of the brighter Telco’s knew it was coming, but like all web 2.0 threats, they come on much faster than an incumbent can forecast and deal with.