Inventive and intrepid founders, wild Estonian parties, brilliant engineering, Tabasco-doused initiations, Silicon Valley intrigue – it’s all here in the inside story of Skype’s first decade.
Once the little Estonian company that could, Skype has grown into a multi-billion-dollar Microsoft asset and, in a single decade, significantly changed the way the world communicates. This is evident in its 300 million users, yes, but also in the ways those 300 million people are using it.
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Skype has become a staple of life’s most important milestones, but also its everyday moments. A soldier uses Skype to experience the birth of his child. An explorer speaks to a classroom of children from his laboratory beneath the ocean. A married couple uses Skype to debate paint and carpet samples for a remodel. A pair of young lovers leave Skype running as they fall asleep hundreds of miles apart – but still together.
“Technology has evolved so much in the last 10 years that the next generation just thinks being next to each other on video wherever you are is simply the way life works,” said Elisa Steele, chief marketing officer for Skype at Microsoft.
Skype was wildly popular from virtually since its launch, and employees fought to remain focused as the company navigated its share of tech-industry tumult. Now that Skype has secured a home within Microsoft’s walls, its leaders say the next decade promises to be sensational as well (though likely in a different sort of way than the first 10 years).
“Skype has to continue to disrupt to continue to be successful, and we’re up for the challenge,” Steele said. “Now it’s about making that connection very real, very easy and incredibly simple.”