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What is Skype?

So you're interested in Skype, huh?

Maybe you heard about Skype from a co-worker, or maybe even a family member.

You may even be interested in Skype because Oprah's using it.

Whatever the reason, you should be proud of yourself for looking into Skype.

That's because Skype is largest (and still growing) VoIP service on the planet, and at any given time there are more than 5 million people using Skype to send and receive calls, instant messages, conduct video calls and even share documents!

Skype makes communications simple, easy and cost effective

Skype is widely known as a software application that allows you to make free or low cost calls across the Internet to other Skype users, their cell phones, or VoIP and PSTN lines.

But Skype is about more than just making calls from your PC. With Skype you can also:

  • Send and Receive Instant Messages
  • Conduct Video Calls
  • Collaborate and share documents
  • Send and Receive Faxes

These options make Skype a complete communications service for just about any user – whether you are using it for personal or professional use.

Plus, because Skype is a software application, it can be accessed via a number of devices. This allows Skype to “go wherever you go” (that has an Internet connection) as you can access your Skype account from other computers, your laptop and even your mobile phone.

Best of all, Skype is free to download , offers free calls between Skype users and has low cost international calling rates.

Skype can be used for personal and professional communications

Many people consider Skype to be a personal communications service. While this is certainly true, the biggest growth in the Skype user base is actually coming from the professional user.

That's because of the functionality and low cost that Skype naturally brings to any user.

Busy executives, road warriors and call centers across the world have embraced Skype as a way to make themselves more efficient, effective and profitable. Now what business professional wouldn't want that?

And as Skype has continued to evolve, new services and products have come along that allow small, medium and large enterprises to use Skype throughout their organization as the primary means of voice communications and collaboration.

As a result of this evolution, a new version of Skype called "Skype for Business" has emerged. This enables the professional user to merge the capabilites of Skype with their existing Microsoft Office platform, as Skype as a whole was bought by Microsoft in early 2015. Skype for Business now replaces the Microsoft Office program "Lync" in the newer editions of the Microsoft Office Suite. To learn more about Skype for Business, subscribe to the VoIP Insider Blog for our upcoming series starting on October 1, 2015 that will explain the ins and outs of the Skype for Business Platform.

Skype for Business Online is now being rolled into Microsoft Teams. This professional online meeting solution combines the key features including instant messaging, video conferencing, calling, and document collaboration into a single, integrated app.

Getting into Skype

Getting started with Skype is relatively easy. All you need to do is:

  • Download the Skype application for your PC, laptop or mobile phone
  • Set-up your Skype account by adding friends, co-workers, business partners and customers to your Skype buddy list
  • Select a plan (or simply call your current Skype buddies for free)
  • Select the right piece of Skype hardware to manage inbound and outbound audio/video
  • Start calling!

Skype really is that simple and easy to get started with and continue using.

Skype Resources

Learn more about Skype with these educational resources.

Skype for Business Hardware

Not sure where to start? Check out the most popular Skype hardware on the market!

Free VoIP Guides and Resources

Read all of our Free Expert Guides. Including VoIP Phones, Systems, and Cloud Service