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Skype ( pron.: / ˈ s k aɪ p / ) is a proprietary Voice over IP service and software application . Skype was first released in 2003 written by Estonian developers Ahti Heinla , Priit Kasesalu , and Jaan Tallinn , who had also originally developed Kazaa . [ 12 ] It developed into a platform with over 600 million users and was bought by Microsoft in 2011 for $8.5 billion. [ 13 ] The service allows users to communicate with peers by voice using a microphone, video by using a webcam, and instant messaging over the Internet.