Skype /ˈskp/ is a freemium voice-over-IP service and instant messaging client, developed by the Microsoft Skype Division. The name was derived from "sky" and "peer".[16] The service allows users to communicate with peers by voice using a microphone, video by using a webcam, and instant messaging over the Internet. Phone calls may be placed to recipients on the traditional telephone networks. Calls to other users within the Skype service are free of charge, while calls to landline telephones and mobile phones are charged via a debit-based user account system. Skype has also become popular for its additional features, including file transfer, and videoconferencing. Competitors include SIP and H.323-based services, such as Linphone[22] and Google Hangouts (formerly Google Talk).

Features

Registered users of Skype are identified by a unique Skype Name, and may be listed in the Skype directory.[33] Skype allows these registered users to communicate through both instant messaging and voice chat. Voice chat allows telephone calls between pairs of users and conference calling, and uses a proprietary audio codec. Skype's text chat client allows group chats, emoticons, storing chat history and editing of previous messages. Offline messages  were implemented in a beta of version 5, but removed after a few weeks without notification. The usual features familiar to instant messaging users — user profiles, online status indicators, and so on — are also included.
The Online Number, a.k.a. SkypeIn, service allows Skype users to receive calls on their computers dialed by conventional phone subscribers to a local Skype phone number; local numbers are available for Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Denmark, the Dominican Republic, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Hungary, Ireland, Japan, Mexico, Nepal, New Zealand, Poland, Romania, South Africa, South Korea, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, and the United States.[34][35] A Skype user can have local numbers in any of these countries, with calls to the number charged at the same rate as calls to fixed lines in the country. The countries on this growing list are referred to collectively as the SkypeIn Countries.
Skype supports conference calls up to 25 people at a time. Skype also supports video chat between two people for free. Screen sharing and group video calling is available for Premium subscribers between a maximum of 10 people.[36]
Skype does not provide the ability to call emergency numbers such as 112 in Europe, 911 in North America, 000 in Australia, 100 Call Police in India and Nepal[37] The U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has ruled that, for the purposes of section 255 of the Telecommunications Act, Skype is not an "interconnected VoIP provider".[38] As a result, the U.S. National Emergency Number Association recommends that all VoIP users have an analog line available as a backup.[39]
On July 14, 2011 Skype partnered with Comcast to bring its video chat service to Comcast subscribers via their HDTV sets.[40]
On June 17, 2013 Skype released a free video messaging service which can be operated on Windows

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