Skype is the perfect example of disruption – bringing about a radical change of mindset in potential customers, and competitors too. Before Skype came along, everyone knew that you always had to pay something to make phone calls, and placing a long-distance phone call, cost a fortune. Customers expected it, and providers took it for granted that they could charge it. We were all captive customers. Suddenly that picture changed completely, when Skype came on market; calls within your own country were completely free, and interna- tional long-distance calling was very, very inexpensive, some- times free. Overnight, Skype gained millions of grateful users.
Skype’s brilliance went beyond making free calling and low, low international calling rates a reality. They also made Skype calling easy, fast, and reliable, with excellent call quality. Sure, there were soon other providers offering free or low-cost ser- vice, but none could match Skype’s quality. Over the years since Skype burst on the scene, other providers have made big strides in convenience, stability and all that, but Skype is still one of the very largest and most popular.
To summarize what Skype did right, and still does:
1. They established a clean, clear, easily-understandable concept, accessible to everyone.
2. They refused to compromise when it came to quality and usability.
3. They took something that was “written in stone” and changed it anyway. No one had ever imagined that phone calls could be free, or that international calls could be free or nearly so.
4. They were a successful second mover because they were superior to their competitors when it came to concept understandability, ease and convenience of use and quality of service.