Skype is a program that allows users to communicate with instant messaging, voice and/or video chat via the internet. It is one of the most widely used communication software packages of all time and is available on all major operating systems as well as many smartphones and other electronic devices. There are more than 650 million registered users of Skype although not all of these are currently active. The company is one of the most successful internet startups of all time and in 2011 it was sold to tech giant Microsoft for $8.5 billion. Let’s find out who founded this company and led it to become one of the most used programs in the world.
Who founded Skype?
Skype was founded by entrepreneurs Janus Friis and Niklas Zennström. They were originally involved in the founding of the popular peer-to-peer (P2P) file sharing software Kazaa. Legal trouble led to the sale of Kazaa in 2003 and Friis and Zennström decided to create a chat program based on P2P technology. They came up with the name Sky per-to-peer, which was then abbreviated to skyper and then further shortened to skype because the domain name was available. The first public release of the program came in August 2003. Just over 2 years later the company had almost 100 million users and it was sold to eBay for $2.6 billion. Friis and Zennström continued with the company in different capacities for the next few years but a falling out with eBay, partly due to low profits, meant that they have both left the company for good.
Did you know?
Friis and Zennström went on to develop the P2P video sharing service Joost in 2007. The site became quite popular, but as of April 2012 is no longer active. Today, Zennström is heavily involved in investing in other internet startups. Friis went on to found the video streaming service Vdio in 2011.