Skype targets businesses with SIP service

Internet telephony firm Skype aims to open up its platform to boost its usage in businesses.

The company is beta testing Skype for SIP, which would enable the integration of Skype on business telephony networks. Skype chief executive Josh Silverman says the product should be commercially available in 2010.

Last month a group led by top internet financiers in Silicon Valley and Europe agreed to buy a 65% stake in Skype from eBay for $1.9 billion.

But Skype’s founders have asked a US federal court to prevent Index Ventures and one of its partners from further participating in the proposed acquisition, according to a court filing.

Asked about the matter, Silverman said: “We have stated publicly, the head of eBay has stated, that we are extremely confident in our legal position.”

Skype has registered 480 million users worldwide in the six years since it was launched. Calls to other Skype users are free, but the company charges for calls to traditional phone numbers and other additional features.

Mobile carriers are slowly starting to allow Skype on their phones as they have feared losing revenue if clients were to make calls over the web instead of on their regular service.

Silverman said he welcomed a recent decision by AT&T to allow Skype to use its cellular network.

He praised US Federal Communications Commission chairman Julius Genachowski for his efforts on proposing a net neutrality rule aimed at ensuring network operators such as AT&T and others treat the flow of internet content and applications without discrimination.

Silverman said it shouldn’t matter what type of data is transmitted. “Data is data,” he said. “Your carrier should not determine which data they like and don’t like. It should be up to the customers how to use the data plans they buy [from cellular companies],” he said.

“We see this as a issue of consumer protection and civil rights.”

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