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An Internet telephone and video calling service from Skype Technologies S.A.R.L., Luxembourg City, Luxembourg (, a division of Microsoft. Being software based, calls from Skype subscribers originate from their computers or mobile devices, and if the recipient is using a computer or mobile, voice and video calls are free. Access to regular telephones is also available. For outgoing calls, users can dial a landline or cellphone for a low per-minute or monthly charge, and subscribers can obtain a Skype number to receive calls from landlines and cellphones worldwide.

In 2010, Skype introduced its group video calling service that lets five people have a videoconference.

Explosive Growth
Introduced in 2004, within a year, more than a hundred million people downloaded the software. In the fall of 2005, Skype claimed 40 million active users and was acquired by eBay for USD $2.6 billion. By late 2008, an average of 10 million users were using Skype simultaneously. Skype was acquired by private investors a year later with eBay retaining a major equity position. In 2011, Microsoft bought Skype and partnered with Facebook to allow its members to make video calls.

Rather than using standard voice over IP (VoIP) protocols such as SIP and H.323, Skype uses proprietary protocols that incorporate a peer-to-peer architecture. If Skype cannot make a direct connection from one user to the other, it may elicit one of its users who has the Skype application loaded to become a "supernode" and relay the call. Only a fraction of the millions of Skype users become supernodes at any given time. See Skype for Business, supernode and softphone.
References in periodicals archive ?
Skype could not specify the exact number of people affected by the error, but believes the number is small given the specific circumstances under which the errors occured.
With approximately 30 million concurrent users logging into Skype at any given time*** and making up to half a million simultaneous video calls***, the Skype video chat on Android app makes it even easier for users to share moments with their contacts wherever they are.
Video calling significantly enhances the user experience of Skype for iPhone, which is one of the top five free iPhone apps in 2010 according to Apple.
For example, Skype offers low-cost options for long-distance calls, DID numbers for businesses to maintain a remote presence by offering local numbers, and Skype's click-to-call feature that allows Skype users to make calls from their Skype account instead of using analog or other VoIP lines.
Panasonic prides itself on listening to our customers and when talking to them about enhancements to our VIERA CAST offerings, Skype was prominently mentioned," said Hauser.
Customers need a Verizon Wireless smartphone and data plan in order to use Skype mobile.
Skype is the world's fastest-growing Internet communication offering, allowing people everywhere to make unlimited voice and video communication for free between the users of Skype software.
The FREETALK Connect*Me Home Phone Adapter is the latest product in the FREETALK line-up that is designed to make it easier for consumers to enjoy Skype conversations to anyone else using Skype, regardless of their device, including: computers (PC, Mac or Linux), iPhone, iPad, Android smartphones and even to a Skype-enabled HDTV.
People who download the new Skype will receive a free trial of group video calling in beta for a chance to try out video calling with more than two people.
Users will also be able to send and receive instant messages, receive calls to a personal online number on Skype and see when your Skype contacts are online.
According to Skype, the store now offers a wider choice of devices and accessories, including plug-in and cordless phones and handsets which can be used without a computer, along with webcams, WiFi phones and speakerphones.