‘Silicon Valley is yesterday’

18 Nov 2010121 Views

Skype co-founder Niklas Zennström says Silicon Valley is no longer the centre of the tech universe and good start-ups can come from anywhere, including Ireland.

Standing before me is one of the internet’s greatest heroes. Around the world today, close to 600 million people have Niklas Zennström and his business partner Janus Friis to thank for being able to stay in touch with loved ones in ways that were unthinkable a decade ago.

Today, people can make free video or voice calls in real time via broadband or their smartphones, not to mention low-cost fixed and mobile telephone calls, through Skype. Before Skype, Zennström and Friis had run a peer-to-peer file-sharing company called Kazaa. After selling it, they started Skype in Sweden in 2003 and quickly realised that if they were to succeed they needed to go international first and not try to be a success at home.

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John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years

editorial@siliconrepublic.com