How can a tiny European upstart like Skype Technologies S.A. do a number on a trillion-dollar industry? By dialing up a vast, hidden resource: its own users. Skype, the newest creation from the same folks whose popular file-sharing software Kazaa freaked out record execs, also lets people share their resources — legally. When users fire up Skype, they automatically allow their spare computing power and Net connections to be borrowed by the Skype network, which uses that collective resource to route others’ calls. The result: a self-sustaining phone system that requires no central capital investment — just the willingness of its users to share.
(How will they respond to the power of P2P this time? )