Microsoft Debuts Skype Phone, Meeting Services for Big Companies

Microsoft Corp.’s Skype wants your company to rip out its landlines and place calls over the Web instead.

Skype will roll out new products that will let companies replace their phone networks and broadcast meetings to thousands of people at once. The new features are part of Microsoft’s Office 365 cloud products and will be available later this year, said Zig Serafin, vice president of Skype for Business.

Microsoft, which is revamping its entire business around cloud-computing and mobile software, is seeking to boost revenue from online products by selling more Web-based Office programs. The Redmond, Washington-based company has said it wants to reach annualized revenue of $20 billion in its corporate-cloud business in the fiscal year that ends in June 2018.

“We can be the landline service provider for you, or you can use the existing telecom provider,” Serafin said.

Microsoft will offer Skype for Business as a Web-based cloud service in the U.S. that companies can use to replace landline services. Customers will get features such as call forwarding, and callers will know whether the person they are seeking to reach is at a desk or on a mobile phone. Customers who don’t want to replace their phones can still access these features through their phone carrier if they choose to do so, thanks to agreements that Microsoft has signed with telecom partners, Serafin said.

Microsoft will also offer a U.S.-only service that lets users invited to a Skype for Business call dial in from a landline or mobile phone.

Skype Meeting Broadcast will let companies hold meetings with as many as 10,000 people, who can join via a Web browser or mobile device.

Pricing for the new Skype services will be announced when they become available later this year.

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