Skype is a voice-over-IP service and instant messaging client. It was originally founded by Janus Friis from Denmark and Niklas Zenstrom from Sweden, and was first released in it’s Beta phase in August 2003. By the end of 2010, The total number of registered Skype accounts had exceeded 663 million, thus attracting the attention of software development powerhouse, Microsoft. In 2011, Microsoft bought all intellectual and naming rights to the Skype software for 8.5 billion US dollars.
Skype is an advanced peer to peer system, whose primary function is to enable its users to keep in touch with friends and family via instant message, voice and video calls. It also allows low cost calls to mobile phones and landlines, so one can keep in touch even if their friend or family member does not use skype themselves. Skype uses an adaptation of the proprietaty Voice-Over-IP protocol, called the Skype protocol. The main difference between the Skype protocol and other standard clients using Voice-Over-IP protocols is that Skype operates on a peer-to-peer layout and design rather than relying solely on the client-server model for network communications.
Since it’s acquisition by Microsoft, it’s development has included the release of versions of the software that are compatible across Windows XP, Windows Vista, Windows 7 and Windows 8 along with platforms not owned by Microsoft, including Apple’s OS X and various Linux distributions such as Ubuntu and Mint. It has also been developed to be compatible with Android, Blackberries and even via Samsung smart TVs. As of August 2013, Microsoft have confirmed that development for 3D calls via Skype, is underway.
Due to this revolutionary piece of software, there are many advantages to using Skype. The first and most evident advantage is its free communication, provided the user has access to Wifi. This technology is also very useful for businesses, whereby meetings can be conducted from various different offices and minimises time wasted in employees, traveling to a conference room. Due to Microsoft’s recent developments for Skype, in regards to compatibility with smartphones and tablets, it is extremely flexible what with free mobile and tablet apps being readily available. Hence, wherever you go, you are always able to make use of Skype’s services.
Disadvantages with this software is that it is useless without a stable internet connection and calls can often drop due to the badwith demands placed on the Wi Fi connection. It also has a negative effect on real life social interaction, seeing as it’s users can choose to stay at home to talk to their friends. There is also no language translator at this time, as well as a long known vulnerability with the software still having yet to be patched, which involves a 3rd party easily able to find the IP addresses of any users they have on their friends list, or even if they know what email was used to register an account.
For the younger generation, Skype has been...