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Skype has moved its connect service out of beta and is pitching it at businesses as speculation grows about the VoIP pioneer's future.

Skype Connect is a box that Skype-enables business communications, plugging into a PBX to provide Skype prices and quality from the comfort of an office desk.

The service has been in beta for the last few months, but is now available to everyone who wants to tie corporate communications to Skype. The box connects to the existing PBX and routes outgoing calls over Skye's P2P network, and incoming calls to the existing office infrastructure.

Skype Connect is certified to work with kit from from the bigger PDX vendors, including Cisco and Avaya, and through gateways from AudioCodes, Grandstream and VoSKY, so it should patch into just about anything.

Once connected up, Skype Connection provides incoming calls for free*, while charging outgoing calls at Skype's usual rate plus a monthly fee of €5 for every simultaneous connection.

Skype has made big strides in stability - there was a time when business users of Skype were derided as fools in our own forums. But the company has worked hard to shake off its amateur image with Skype Connect being a pure-business offering. Skype is now heading for an IPO, though TechCrunch reckons Cisco has already made an offer for the company with the intention of embedding Skype's technology into its own routers.

But despite the increasingly corporate image Skype is still obliged to remind customers that, thanks to its failure to connect to the emergency services, it "is not a replacement for traditional telephone service", and that "users need to ensure all calls to emergency services are terminated through traditional telephone services". This will need to be addressed before Skype can really be considered to have grown up. ®

* Americans pay for incoming calls, strange as it might seem from this side of the pond.

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