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Avaya & Skype announce "strategic partnership” … of a sort

Avaya (www.avaya.com) and Skype (www.skype.com) announced much big love and a strategic partnership today.  But the meat of the agreement won’t be implemented until the second half of 2011. And it’s not exclusive.

In “Phase 1,” Avaya customers will have “access” to Skype Connect, so anyone running a SIP-based IP PBX will be able to exchange voice-based calls – but not SILK-quality calls.

Enterprises will have to sign up directly with Skype or a Skype Connect account and pre-pay for minutes since that’s how calls traversing between the SIP universe and the Skype universe are billed. (And seriously, how old school telco is that?)

Neither side would talk about compensation around Skype Connect minutes, but Avaya Senior VP/President Alan Baratz said they’re paying Skype for tech support in implementing the SILK codec and other technology.

Further out there, in the “second half of 2011” is a promise of fully integrated functionality between Skype clients and Avaya IP-based technology, including the whole UC enchilada of presence, messaging, voice, and video.  Avaya will wrap “enterprise level control and management” around the Skype application services.

Judging from the some of the comments given by both Baratz and Skype Enterprise GM/President David Gurlé, both sides are still in process of mapping out what would and wouldn’t be supported… which makes me wonder about hitting the “second half” of 2011, unless that means making a release date announcement for support to come out in 2012…

Two years ago, Digium (www.digium.com) and Skype announced a similar love-in/work-together integration agreement and it took almost a year to get what ultimately evolved into Skype Connect to properly work with Asterisk. 

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