Skype is an app that provides instant online text messaging, faxing and video chat and conference calling. Best of all it’s free! Users of Skype can choose a nickname of their choice to use the system without having to reveal their identity.
Its original name came from the words: “Sky peer-to-peer”. Later it was shortened to “Skyper”. Domain names using the words “Skyper” were already not available, so the domain name “Skype”, without an “r” on the end, was registered.
Origin and Founders
On August of 2003, Niklas Zennström and Janus Friis who had developed Skype, founded the company in Estonia. As early as February 2004 video conferencing was introduced and by October of 2004 there were already 100,000 Skype users globally and over a million downloads.
By February of 2006, Skype announced PC’s would be able to access 10-way conference calling! That was really something new. Many people were now able to communicate with each other in real time on a virtual platform.
By 2012, nine years after Skype first started, it had near 35 million users at the same time online. These users were spread out all over the world and were able to communicate in a very casual way with each other without the need of going into an office environment. All you needed was a PC or computer monitor and a mic. It was virtual and a very new way of communicating long distance.
Much of the service is free, as long as you can access your data or Wi-Fi connection, and unless you want to contact to a mobile phone or landline; in that case you can get a subscription and will be charged a small fee.
In 2010, Skype launched its service for the Apple iPad and later for other Apple devices, and in October of 2011, Skype launched on Android based devices.
The company became so popular and high in demand that it exchanged ownership a couple times. At one point EBay purchased Skype in September 2005 for over $2 billion and later in May 2011, Microsoft paid $8.5 billion for Skype and is its current owner. Many of the Skype employees or at least 44% are nowadays located in the small European country of Luxembourg.
The Skype app, once installed on any mobile device or computer, provides virtual communication between one or more users and up to 10 users at the same time. Using a webcam and a microphone; anyone can communicate over the internet for free anywhere in the world!
You can see or not be seen; speak to, hear or text your spouse, friend, parent, client, agent, or anyone else you want to via the internet on your smartphone, tablet and computer, wherever you are, anytime of the day or night, in your home or office. Make a reservation to a resort at a faraway destination without having to pay a long-distance phone bill. Skype is a popular and convenient way of staying in touch virtually with your employees or perhaps friends whom you haven’t seen for a very long time.
Due to Skype’s overall popularity and ease of access, which is what makes this app so successful, there are endless possibilities of globally connecting anytime and from anywhere. Many network managers and administrators in corporate and government entities are no longer allowing their employees on the job to use Skype during working hours due to abuse and extreme usage of corporate bandwidth and security issues.
The differences between Voice over IP and Skype are that the latter operates using a peer-to-peer level, versus the client-server model, although both require user registration to a server. Also, Skype incorporates characteristics which hide its location, although the goal is not to thwart the analysis towards Skype traffic. People who want to prevent their identity from being disclosed can use Skype for their protection when communicating.