Skype is a voice-over-IP digital call service which allows people to make telephone calls or video chat from their personal computer. It was bought by Microsoft in 2011.
Starting in the early 2010s, many quizbowlers began experimenting with Skype video-chats as a way to practice quizbowl online, either as a supplement to school practices or a substitute for people in remote areas. The typical procedure in this instance is for the moderator to read questions aloud on one video chat screen to a chatroom where other players have signed on; players usually type "buzz" rather than saying it or using an actual buzzer system to maximize impartiality. This practice is sometimes jokingly or derisively known as Skypebowl.
Skype is denigrated as a platform for official competition of any kind, due to the inherent likelihood of technical snafus that comes with an online platform. Regardless, Mike Bentley has run a few official tournament mirrors, including 2012 Penn-ance and 2013 Terrapin, from the Washington region using Skype, primarily for teams who were not able to attend a decent local site. The difficulties of finding moderators and juggling connections across time zones usually cause these tournaments to be somewhat shorter than regular events, at around 8 or 9 rounds.
The Online Skype Practice League also ran Skype-based games on cleared question sets.