Microsoft Skype Unit Approaching $2 Billion in Annual Sales

Microsoft Corp.’s Skype unit, which includes Lync software for corporate instant messaging and Internet calling, is approaching $2 billion in annual sales.

The division is getting close to the size of Microsoft’s SharePoint business, which focuses on tools that help employees collaborate, according to Giovanni Mezgec, a general manager in the Skype division. SharePoint will bring in more than $2 billion in revenue for the current fiscal year, Microsoft said in November.

Microsoft, based in Redmond, Washington, has 5 million users for Lync, its Internet-calling product for companies. That’s up from 3 million 14 months ago, Mezgec said. Microsoft wants to sell more Lync software to corporations to catch up with Cisco Systems Inc. in the market for Internet telephony and communications, which Forrester Research Inc. predicts will be worth $14.5 billion in 2015.

Microsoft, the world’s largest software maker, paid $8.5 billion to buy Skype in 2011 to add the most popular Web-calling service, targeted at consumers. Skype had about $800 million in sales when Microsoft acquired the company.

Of the 100 largest companies, by Fortune magazine’s ranking, 90 are Lync customers, Mezgec said.

By June, Lync users will be able to connect to Skype for telephony, instant messaging, and to see whether contacts are online, according to a blog post by Skype President Tony Bates, who is speaking today at a Lync conference in San Diego.

Mobile versions of Lync for Microsoft’s Windows Phone and Apple Inc.’s iOS will be available early next month. An application for Google Inc.’s Android smartphones is planned for a month later, Bates said.

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