Skype has made itself present in many different areas around the globe, but the Microsoft-owned service is now looking to enter (and hopefully be a part of) a more business-oriented field. With the launch of its newfangled, adequately-named In the Workspace platform, Skype says it's hoping to keep small businesses connected and help them grow by giving them a free platform where they can easily communicate with potential customers, partners and even suppliers. According to Skype, this novel service has been tested in beta form for nearly six months now, and today it's officially opening its virtual doors to all business owners that are interested in giving it a go -- the link to sign up can be found down below.Permalink | | Email this | Comments
Lower Manhattan, Pearl Street, the Financial District. A Starbucks with broad windows, great for people watching. Sipping my $5 flavored coffee, I watched a homeless man sit on the sidewalk. I liked him immediately: his sharp gaze and thoughtful expression. When I left, I squatted down next to him and put five bucks in his jar, contributing the cost of my first-world coffee to the man's case for survival.
We talked. He knew his tech, this man of no possessions, describing his favorite productivity gadgets of the past decade, scorning Apple for form over function. He had been living on the street day and night for two years. My five dollars was "huge," he said. I knew that was true only microcosmically. He liked cigars. That's where the cash would go.
Meanwhile, Starbucks had recently cut a deal with Square, one of the hottest startup stories of the season, so that people with five dollars to spend on coffee needn't pull out a wallet and ponder their privilege.Permalink | | Email this | Comments
Square is most often pitched as heaven for small businesses, but that 2.75 percent cut per transaction is sometimes a problem for stores that are too successful. Enter a new flat rate option. Shops that don't take more than $250,000 a year in Square payments, or charge more than $400 in a given sale, can instead pay a flat $275 per month regardless of how many swipes they take. The deal makes the most sense for businesses handling more than $120,000 a year through the reader, establishing a definite limit to its usefulness; this isn't exactly for a budding jeweler (or Starbucks). Even so, the simplicity of the rate might be very alluring for companies that aren't keen on surprise costs or working out the math, and it's a contrast to the half-steps towards flat rates taken by VeriFone and other, more traditional outlets going mobile.Permalink | | Email this | Comments