“How can they be so good?”: The strange story of Skype

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From a company powerpoint, here’s an artist’s impression of the moment when Skype’s idea was fostered. (Zennström on the left, next to Friis.) (credit: Malthe Sigurdsson)

Fifteen years ago this week—on August 29, 2003—Skype went live for the first time. In the time since, of course, the service has undergone a number of big changes. This origin story of the service originally ran on September 2, 2013, when Skype’s partnership with Microsoft was still new and before the Redmond company closed its London office. But given Skype’s recent anniversary (and Labor Day weekend for Ars staff), we’re resurfacing it. The story appears unchanged below.

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