I remember the days when ICQ was pretty much the de-facto instant messenger. All the “hardcore-gamers” and everyone I knew had ICQ. Back then it was text chat only, and you received a notification sound when your friends came online or went offline (door open sound, door close sound).
Back then I never even imagined that not so far into the future, we’d be so connected that you can reach anyone, anywhere, at any time. Via text chat, video chat, see their location (If they then share it with you) or audio chat.
When Skype released their software in 2003 it was the beginning of a new era of communication between people. All of a sudden you were able to call others from Skype, on their phones, or receive calls on your computer others initiated on their phones. Mind-bending new technology to us “oldies”, “back then” only like 10 years ago.
Skype quickly became the most popular communications app out there…
Fast forward to today. Skype has been sold and re-sold a couple of times, and today Skype is pretty much the market-leader when it comes to online business communication.
Skype Features & Versions
All versions have the same features basically, except that the lite version is optimized to perform also with bad connectivity, but sadly only available in India. As it’s a huge market, but with slow mobile connections. It might release in other countries at a later time.
The business version of Skype has an integration for Active Directory (A login/authorization system many companies use), as well as an integrated calendar, designed to keep track of online meetings.
The classic version is where all the action is though, it has far more downloads than the other versions.
Skype Pros & Cons
Skype in general is a great piece of software that lives up to it’s promise and enables you to make cheap calls from Skype to mobile phones & landlines all over the country as well as internationally.
But, their technology didn’t evolve so much over the past few years and if you’re a regular Skype user you might know what I’m talking about. The text messages sometimes take forever to be send (Especially great in a Business setting where you need to receive a reply urgently).
International video chat is often extremely sketchy and buffers like it’s 1999.
This also might be the reason that so many personal users were looking for alternatives.
Skype isn’t all bad though, most of the time it works quite well. It all depends on your use-case. If you plan on using Skype for your business, you will find that particularly in the online/internet world most companies are in fact using Skype to communicate.
If you’re using Skype mainly for personal use, I think that you will find communication apps that are way better suited for this task than Skype.