Microsoft could charge for some business Skype features

With Microsoft now the new owners of Skype, you might expect some changes at the popular Internet phone service. According to ZDNet, some recent comments made by one of Microsoft's top executives give some clues as to how the company plans to earn back the $8.5 billion it spent on purchasing Skype.

During an investor event in London earlier this week, Charles Songhurst, the General Manager for Corporate Strategy at Microsoft, was asked specifically about the Skype business and Microsoft's plans for it. Songhurst compared Skype's business model to that of email where basic services have always been free. He stated, " ... you look at Hotmail and its competitors like Yahoo and Gmail, and then you look at the business side of e-mail. You look at Outlook and you look at its competitors. That’s always been a very good and very profitable business for Microsoft." As far as Skype, Songhurst said, "It’s a product that is free, and it’s likely to stay free."

However, businesses who want to use more advanced and specific features may have to pay up. He said, "In the enterprise you’ve got a very compelling opportunity around archiving and authentication. There’s a stat that’s approximately 29 percent of Fortune 500 employees use Skype without it being installed from their CIO. So, if you think about giving the CIO the ability to archive those conversations, to authenticate them, to have the same controls over that conversation that they do over their e-mail, that the employees have, you’d have a very compelling proposition."

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