Tuesday, September 16, 2014


Tech Talk

Good things come to tech that waits

8/27/2014

It seems in the tech world, if you are not an immediate hit, you are destined to be a failure. However, there are those who hang on and wait for the world to realize the utility of their service. For Skype, it has been an extremely rocky 11 years, but it is officially time to announce it as the premiere video chatting software.

When Skype was first released in 2003, the value of a video conferencing service was immediately recognizable. Video conferencing existed, but it required a very fast Internet connection and expensive hardware from companies such as Cisco. Skype allowed anyone with a computer, a web cam and a microphone to talk face to face over the Internet, and in many situations, for free.

While everyone recognized the utility, few people actually used the service, and of its small user base, few were paying customers. This lack of revenue lead to a long, near fatal road for the company. Seen as a hot commodity, Skype was tossed around the tech industry like a hot potato, being acquired by Ebay in 2005, an investment group in 2009, Facebook nearly purchasing it in 2010, before ultimately finding a home with Microsoft in 2011. It seems at all points, no one could figure out how to turn their billion-dollar investment into multi-billion-dollar profits.

Today, that has all changed thanks to Microsoft’s business users and the rise of the smartphone. Microsoft opened the doors of corporate America to Skype, but the smartphone brought it into the homes across the globe. Of its 600 million users, modern telecom networks have finally reached data speeds that allow video conferencing virtually anywhere. Whether you’re in a corn field, city center or suburb, Skype calls are finally coming in clear.

Eleven years since its debut, Skype has finally started earning its keep. More than that, now that Skype is available in 38 languages, is on every operating system and has Facebook integration, it is dominating the market.  Businesses, schools and government offices are all dropping their costly video conferencing equipment for Skype’s cheap service, proving that the secret to Skype’s success was merely patience. CV

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Patrick Boberg is a central Iowa creative media specialist. Follow him on Twitter @PatBoBomb.

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