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Skype to offer more to businesses

30 percent of users are workers

Skype will offer additional features for businesses but it won't develop a specific VoIP product for the workplace, Niklas Zennstrom, founder and chief executive of Skype, said today at the VON Europe conference in Stockholm.

Skype already has some capabilities geared toward business users, such as a feature that lets multiple users share an account to pay for services. Some of the partnerships Skype has, with companies such as headset maker Plantronics and others, are also geared toward business users too, Zennstrom said.

"We will continue to bring out features useful to business users. What we've not done is an enterprise-wide solution, and that's not our intention," he said.

About 30 percent of Skype's customers use the service for business, he said.

Questions about security have led some businesses to ban Skype, and some vendors even offer applications to block it. The company is trying to do a better job communicating about its security, Zennstrom said.

Some companies ban Skype because they don't understand that calls are encrypted and quite secure, according to Zennstrom. Oxford University banned it, but when Skype contacted the university and explained how the security behind it works, Oxford lifted the ban, he said.

Skype could become increasingly useful to business users who want to cut down on mobile phone calls. Skype already works on Windows Mobile devices, and the company continues to develop a Skype client compatible with Symbian, the operating system that fuels Nokia smartphones, Zennstrom said.


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