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6.1. Skype and Competitors

It may seem that Skype appeared from nowhere and pioneered the idea of a software phone using a peer-to-peer connection model. There was nothing, then boom, there were millions of Skype users. But that's not exactly how it all developed.

Active Internet Telephony pioneers were creating the foundation for years, building on earlier video-conference work, but 1995 may be the year technology gelled enough to get serious (a company named VocalTec released the first Internet Phone on February 15 of that year). The maturing Quality of Service protocol, necessary to keep voice streams traveling over the Internet from becoming garbled, provided an excellent starting place for developing the standards for Internet Telephony.


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