Skype announces channel incentive program

The web-based communications company Skype has announced that it is beginning a channel incentive program to increase its sales of business services by providing training, certification and access to customer support.

The move comes on the heels of Skype’s stated intention to make a $100 million initial public offering – and when increased competition from Google Voice means channel partners will play a vital role in the company’s growth.

"Our certified Skype Channel Partners will advise and guide [businesses] on how to strategically adopt Skype for Business Solutions and get the most out of using them within their organizations," said Skype’s vice president, David Gurlé. "Ultimately, this channel partner program will help us scale service and support for our business customers."

There are already 20 channel partners, and the company anticipates sales to grow after a sluggish first half of 2010. Business services are the primary source of revenue, although only 6 percent of the company’s 124 million users each month pay a subscription fee for services, according to CRN.com.

The largely free service offers voice and video communication abilities via the internet, and is increasingly being used by small and medium-sized businesses to reduce travel and commuting costs.