Skype

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About Skype

Skype is a computer software application which allows you to make calls through voice or video conferencing. Its numerous features allow for instant messaging, file sharing, and a feature which allows you to share the contents of your computer screen with other Skype users. The service provides free Skype to Skype calling as well as the ability to call to landlines and cell phones for a fee. Fees are assessed either on a pay-as-you-go or monthly basis. Skype accounts for 8% of all international calling minutes and at any one time, there can be over 20 million people using skype.

Skype History

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Skype was founded in 2003 by Niklas Zennström and Janus Friis in Luxembourg. The company cought on quickly and soon expanded to all corners of the globe. There are currently Skype offices in the United States, Europe, and Asia. Skype was purchased by eBay in 2005 for $2.6 billion dollars and eBay remained the owner until September, 2009 when they sold 65% of the company to a group of investors led by Silver Lake Partners and Index Ventures.

How to use Skype Calling

One of the great features about Skype calling is that it is mostly free and easy to use. Before you get started, make sure your computer is capable of using Skype. You need access to the internet, a microphone, speakers, and a webcam if you plan on doing video conferencing.

To get started, simply go to http://www.skype.com and download and install the program to your computer or laptop. Next, you must create an account. To get your account, all you need is a username, password, and an e-mail address.

When you have your account set up, there are a number of things you can do. You will want to add contacts to your address book. In your address book, you can enter the addresses or user names of people you want to talk to. You can also choose how you want to talk to people, whether it be sending them a typed message, talking with sound only or talking with sound and video.




While having a conversation, you can also toggle what the person you are talking to sees on their computer. If you wish, you can show them your computer screen to explain something in greater detail. Other options with Skype include playing games such as dominoes and checkers against the person you are Skyping with, send files to them, or send a fax.

Skype-to-Skype Calls

A useful feature of Skype is its free Skype-to-Skype calling. As long as both parties have downloaded Skype onto their computers, calls to anywhere in the world are free. Friends can contact each other any time, any day, any month. The basic idea of Skype-to-Skype calling is that the individual turns his or her computer into an internet phone.

Other Features

If you have friends, family or business colleagues who don't use Skype. Anyone can call you online number from any phone or mobile. You still can send a text message from Skype to quickly reach a friend or colleague. You can even group a bunch of people together and send them the same text message with one keystroke.

The one corporate feature that Skype fails to address is the presence of a conveniently available customer service program. Currently, they only provide assistance via a web portal and through contact e-mail addresses. Because of this, Skype is also unable to immediately update billing information, many times resulting in miscommunication in regards to billing inquiries and information changes.

Skype for Business Use

Skype is a great tool for conversations which must take place in person, but would normally be hindered by the location of the people having them. The screen viewing section can allow someone to show another how to perform certain tasks on their computer which are not easily explained. Skype also allows for face to face conversations for people who are away from home for an extended period of time such as military personnel and students. Registered users of Skype are identified by a unique Skype Name. Users may be listed in the Skype directory.

Skype is also developing Skype For SIP.Companies using the service can make phone calls from their office phones to any regular phone or cell phone at the same cheap rates that Skype's consumer customers can. The calls are carried over the public Internet. Companies will also be able to purchase online Skype numbers available in over 20 countries to receive calls from business contacts and customers who are using traditional fixed lines or mobile phones.

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References

Skype Homepage: http://www.skype.com

Skype: A Baltic Success Story: http://emagazine.credit-suisse.com/app/article/index.cfm?fuseaction=OpenArticle&aoid=163167&coid=7805&lang=EN

Ebay Completes Aquisition of Skype: http://investor.ebay.com/ReleaseDetail.cfm?ReleaseID=176402&FYear=

Skype Expands Mobile Strategy (2008): http://about.skype.com/2008/01/skype_expands_mobile_strategy.html

Ebay sells Skype: http://www.businesswire.com/portal/site/home/permalink/?ndmViewId=news_view&newsId=20090901005931&newsLang=en

Skype Tests Software for Mass-Market Mobile Phones: http://about.skype.com/2008/04/skype_tests_software_for_massm.html

Skype Targets bussinesses with new service: http://news.cnet.com/8301-1001_3-10201830-92.html