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A Brief History of Skype – the peer to peer messaging service

Skype was founded by Estonian developers Zahti Heinla, Priit Kasesalu and Jaan Tallinn, Danish developer Janus Friis and Sweden’s Niklas Zennstrom. The foremost voice-over-IP service was launched in August 2003. Skype actually stands for “Sky Peer to Peer.”

The original Skype application permitted voice calls from PC to PC and little else. Skype’s original logo was purple. Skype’s 0.9 Beta created the platform to permit calls to landlines from PC’s on a fee schedule. Through the evolution of various Skype upgrades, the company continued to experiment with different colours before finally settling on the current blue background.

After the original 0.90 Beta, Skype released several subsequent versions (0.97, 1.0 and 1.4 Beta). Version 2.0 Beta was released in 2005. This version revolutionized the Internet call industry and paved the way for the greatest and most expansive Internet communication app. The 2.0 Beta program first introduced video calling using a greatly simplified new design and a simplified interface.

A Pivotal Year For Skype

With the release of the Beta 2.0 version in 2005, Skype zoomed to new levels of popularity. In this year, eBay acquired Skype in a landmark transaction for $2.5 billion. The founders began to concentrate on a streaming video service known as Joost. The streaming service was unsuccessful.

During the eBay ownership, Skype continued to make incremental advances. Frustration set in at eBay who announced that they had overvalued Skype. The direction of Skype began to change with an emphasis on sociability.

The result was that Skpecasts were introduced in May 2006. Skypecasts allowed users to utilize voice conversations with up to 100 participants. These communications resembled chat rooms that were directed by a host who determined who could speak next.

Skype 3.1 transitioned users from a family and friend network to extended networks for businesses and organisations. The programs ofSkypecasts remained active until September 2008. Meanwhile, eBay became increasingly disenchanted with their investment, losing millions of dollars every year.

Finally, in September 2008, eBay pulled the plug. The company cited that the program had failed to maintain the expected minimum quality standard.
Several Skype functions like Skype Find and the Skye business directory were maintained by the community of Skype users. These Skype Find and business directory services remained active until the release of Skype 5.2.

During this transition period, the directory contained much more information than the service provides today. During this period, a user could search for another user by age, region, sex and language. With the release of Version 3.0, Skype took the basic shape that the program still has today.

Internal Tensions Rise in 2008

Tension between eBay and Skype management teams increased in early 2008. Continuing shifts in management personnel culminated in the departure of Friis and Zennstrom. Josh Silverman became CEO in February 2008 and immediately set about concentrating on video calls. This shift eliminated previously popular programs like Skype Find and Skypecast. Version 4.0 promoted improved video calling with 720p HD.

Skype 4.1 was launched in 2009. This version introduced the concept of screen sharing. Skype 4.1 also used Boingo to offer wireless internet access through access points. This was a pay per use service. The program would late be dubbed Skype Wi-Fi Access.

Skype Goes Mobile

By 2010, Skype 4.1 was ingrained in Windows, Mac and Linux. Skype set its sights on the mobile marketplace such as Android, iPhone and iPad. Early versions only permitted voice calls. In December 2010, Skype video calls became available to iPhone users. By June, 2011, Androids enjoyed the same access.

Skype continued to expand into new markets and achieved accessibility to such applications as Linux, smart TVs, Skype phones and consoles. In May of 2011, Microsoft acquired Skype for $8.5 billion. At this point, Version 5.3 reigned. Version 5.3 included Facebook integration and offered group video calls. The program was dynamic and surpassed the original scheme significantly.

The ability to make group calls and deploy other appealing features in 5.3 were available through a monthly subscription. Features included shared screen video calls and group calls, unlimited calls to a country and the promise of an ad-free interface. Large numbers of consumers began to shift to the new platform.

In November 2012, Microsoft announced that Skype would become the main Microsoft messaging service, eliminating its proprietary Messenger service. This launched a new surge in Skype usage.

Users could login with their Microsoft account. A Bing search bar was also included in the installer. Skype gradually adapted much of Microsoft’s overall style. Most notable among change was the flat interface surface and the removal of icon highlights that brought the surface into line with Windows 8.

Skype has established itself as the premier video voice messaging platform. The instant messaging platform, file sharing and screen sharing capabilities are extremely popular. Microsoft has turned Skype into a winning investment and a terrific program for Online voice and video communication.

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