Whatever Happened to Skype?

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Skype, the revolutionary free video call service, is still here, although it rarely gets discussed in the world of Snap Inc. (NYSE: SNAP), Instagram and Facebook Inc. (NASDAQ: FB). Skype has somewhere close to 300 million active users, which puts it on par with Twitter Inc. (NYSE: TWTR). However, Skype arguably has more useful features that some of these newer technologies, at least for people who want to mimic phone calls and video communications for free. That 300 million hardly makes Skype invisible, no matter how little it shows up as a primary means to connect people and businesses.

When Skype was launched in 2003, the notion that people could connect via video call was something new, particularly because the service was free. It was a time when long distance calls, particularly those made overseas, could still be expensive, and video call technology was not available to most people at all. The innovations of the product were great enough that eBay Inc. (NASDAQ: EBAY) bought the company for over $2.5 billion in 2005. That made it a father of the “unicorn” category. After it passed through other hands, Microsoft Corp. (NASDAQ: MSFT) paid $8.5 billion for it in 2011.

Microsoft has incorporated Skype into some of its business services. It has been integrated into the software company’s business server tools, particularly. It also has made Skype into a business video conference call technology. This allows businesses to forgo more expensive video call technology. Presumably, Microsoft thinks this makes its business tools software productions more attractive.

Skype’s evolution as a means for people to communicate, even without Microsoft business tools, continues. It only recently announced several new features:

At Skype, we’re constantly working to develop new ways to help you make connections with friends, family and coworkers easy and natural.

With this in mind, we are expanding our Skype extension for Google Chrome to enable Skype integration across more of the online tools you use every day, including calendars, email, and even social media. With the latest update of the Skype extension for Chrome, you can create and insert Skype call links with just one click or tap, from right within your email, calendar item, or tweet.

This update comes in addition to the already offered Skype extension features, such as the ability to communicate directly from within your browser, share web pages and launch Skype with one click or tap.

Skype may have been forgotten in some circles in which it used to be well known. But it is not gone.