Happy 10th Birthday to Skype, The Little Estonian Startup That Could

| Dave Hamilton's Blog

Today Skype celebrates their tenth birthday. Yup, just ten years ago Skype began as a scrappy little startup in Estonia and has since grown into a multi-billion dollar Microsoft asset.

Their reason for being? The founders had previously developed Kazaa, a peer-to-peer file-sharing solution, but were spending all of their money on phone calls between Stockholm, Copenhagen and Tallinn. They thought, "Hey, maybe this peer-to-peer technology we were developing could be a solution," and Skype was born.

But that's not all. Every company has a story to tell, and Skype has chosen this milestone as the day to tell theirs. From their blog post:

Estonian for jellyfish, the Millimallikas is so-named for the tentacle-like effect that comes from pouring Tabasco sauce into a shot glass of Sambuca and tequila. Knock it bravely down the hatch, experience a burning sensation, and only then are you officially a Skype employee. [...] Even Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer was successfully initiated on a trip to Tallinn after Microsoft purchased Skype in 2011.

Yep. Ballmer drank the Millimallikas. But, you say, "where is this Tallinn? Where is Estonia?" Don't worry, you're not alone. In fact, Estonia's president sees it regularly, so much so that he says:

"Not many know where Estonia is, but everyone knows Skype. So now I say I’m the president of the country where Skype is."

Their story is a good read, especially if you've ever used Skype.

Happy birthday, Skype, and thanks for everything you folks do over there!

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What a nicely told story on a Microsoft site no less. I’ve been using skype when traveling abroad for most of their 10 years and the connections are better than landlines and cell phones at home. Skype’s challenge is that communicating via traditional methods (mobile phones and land lines) are getting cheaper and cheaper.

We no longer worry about the cost. (When was the last time you ran out of minutes?) Also, we text a lot more than we talk. I think that’s why I never turn to skype when I’m home.

I’ve used skype to send text messages and Skype credit to buy Wi-Fi. They will have to keep on innovating as it becomes easier and easier to communicate. I wonder if they can do that at Microsoft?


Interestingly I find I use Skype at home a fair amount. The connection is more reliable and the sound quality better than our cell phones.

I just wish FaceTime was as cross platform as Skype.


The former Skype engineers now work on a new startup—https://fleep.io

John Dingler, artist

It’s owned by Microsoft, eh? Notice that President Toomas Hendrik did not admit to the embarrassment that MS owns Skype. *S*


Skype has never been owned by Estonians. The company was founded by a Dane and a Swede. Then it was sold to eBay. And you know the rest.

Estonian president is a mac user by the way. (And politically not so significant as prime minister is. )


I use Skype all the time on my iP mini, because it calls cells and landlines.I ask people every call if they can hear me OK, and they always come back with something along the lines of “like you’re in the room.’
I also use it on my iMac instead of a phone, because i like hands-free conversations, it keeps my phone bill waaay down, and Skype’s overseas calls are like 2¢ per minute for most places.

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