Skype turns 10, looks ahead to 3D calling

The Skype Internet phone program is seen September 1, 2009 in New York City.
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Skype is turning 10, and the online communications software has come a long way since it made its first connection over the Internet.

Skype began as a voice over Internet protocal (VoIP) and instant messaging service, and later expanded into video chat. It now connects 300 million users.

The company was founded by Niklas Zennstrom and Janus Friis on Aug. 29, 2003. It was sold to eBay in 2005 for about $2.5 billion, and then to a group of venture capital firms in 2009. In 2011, Microsoft bought the company for $8.5 billion.

In a blog post to commemorate the milestone, Skype noted that over 1.4 trillion minutes of voice and video calls have been made using its service. The company also highlighted some of the most incredible moments captured by people using Skype, including the story of a solider witnessing the birth of his child from Iraq and call from the top of Mount Everest.

Famous Skype users include Britain's Royal Family, Oprah Winfrey and Lady Gaga. During an episode of "The Oprah Winfrey Show," Winfrey proclaimed of Skype: "It's changing the way we do television!" The media mogul continued to connect with guests on-air using the video conferencing feature.

In 2012, Prince Harry reportedly called the Royal Family from Afghanistan on Christmas Day via Skype. Pop star Lady Gaga has been known to occasionally video chat with her fans using the service.

It doesn't appear that Skype is quitting anytime soon. The company is reportedly working on adding 3D video calling to its list of features.

In a recent interview with the BBC, Skype vice president at Microsoft Mark Gillett said the company has been at work to develop 3D video chat technology, but it may not be ready for years.

"We've done work in the labs looking at the capability of 3D-screens and 3D-capture," Gillett told the BBC. "But the capture devices are not yet there. As we work with that kind of technology you have to add multiple cameras to your computer, precisely calibrate them and point them at the right angle."

Who knows what another 10 years will bring. Happy birthday, Skype!