While Skype is now a Microsoft-owned behemoth, its early days were very different. Skype‘s heritage goes back to KaZaa, a P2P (peer-to-peer) file-sharing application that was one of the pillars of the early internet.

And while the spirit of those times petered in Skype itself, the country of its origin, Estonia, has fulfilled the promise of P2P.

First, some context. We met Tanel Erm – the Managing Director of Microsoft’s Estonia dev center – in Talinn, who gave us some insight into the early days of Skype and the company’s evolution from scrappy start-up to tech titan.

Let’s start with the code. The foundation of the original Skype was its P2P backend. This allowed people to make calls by directly connecting them to another user. Yes, this sounds simple, but do you remember how expensive making international calls was in 2003? Skype was a revelation; a free and easy way to communicate.