Internet telephony, or Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP), has become increasingly popular since the early 2000s. The world’s most popular VoIP application by far is Skype. The name derives from “Sky peer-to-peer,” which was shortened to Skyper, and then to Skype. This entry explores Skype’s origins, growth, uses, and impacts.

Development of Skype

Skype was founded in 2003, the earliest years of VoIP, by two Scandinavian entrepreneurs, Swedish Niklas Zennström and Danish Janus Friis, the creators of the peer-to-peer (P2P) telephony system Kazaa, using software developed by Estonian engineers Ahti Heinla, Priit Kasesalu, and Jaan Tallinn, who were the architects of the file sharing network Kazaa. Indeed, much of the technology used for Skype was originally developed for Kazaa. Headquartered in Luxembourg, it relies heavily on ...

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