Microsoft celebrates Skype's 10th birthday with free WiFi; 3D video calls in the works

On August 29th, 2003, five people from Estonia, Sweden and Denmark launched the first version of Skype. In 10 years, the VoIP service has massively expanded its reach and has become one of the most popular software programs ever released. Indeed, the word "Skyped" has become a term for some people to use when they make a call on the service, much like how people use "Googled it" to describe searching for files.

Microsoft acquired Skype in October 2011 for $8.5 billion and since then the company has been very busy integrating the service in several of its products, including most recently Outlook.com. It will also be used in the upcoming Xbox One game console.

On the occasion of Skype's 10th anniversary today, Microsoft released a new infographic, shown below, that claims Skype now has 300 million connected users. Indeed, Microsoft claims that a third of all international telephone calls now go through Skype. Over the past 10 years. Skype users have spent over 1.4 trillion minutes using the service.

Microsoft also announced that, from now until 12 am PT Friday, every single Skype user will receive 30 minutes of free WiFi access that can be used on its two million hotspots. The free minutes, which have to be used in two 15 minute segments, will be available for use over the next month.

So what does the Skype team have planned for the future? According to a BBC story, it is looking into developing a way to offer 3D video chat, but that technology could be several years down the road. Mark Gillett, the corporate VP for Microsoft's Skype division, stated:

We have it in the lab, we know how to make it work and we're looking at the ecosystem of devices and their capability to support it in order to make a decision when we might think about bringing something like that to market.

Gillett says that a Skype client could also be released for Sony's PlayStation 4 in the future. A version of Skype is already available for the Sony PS Vita portable console.

Source: Skype | Image via Microsoft

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They should complete Skype for Windows Phone before they add more ecosystems to work with.
Skype for Windows Phone 8 still only has Online and Invisible statuses available. Logging out to avoid messages will make it forget your account completely and file transfers aren't supported. No Offline status like the built in Messenger app.

Even though the BBC article linked to here is the same one I read yesterday, what I got out of it is completely different from the headline here. It sounds to me like it's working right now, but there's really no point for them to try bringing it out as nobody has the proper camera setup.

In fact, the one quote John extracted out of it pretty much sums that up exactly.

3D Video Calls! Yay! I can't wait, 3D is a huge success and everyone loves 3D. I love how MS are right up to date with the technologies that we all love to use! Just like the love everyone has for Windows 8.

Oh wow, 30 minutes of WiFi for free? That is incredible! Not...

I remember ages ago (way before Microsoft took over) they would allow free calling to any phone in the US and Canada. They did this free promotion multiple times. Now that was something I could actually use and appreciate.