Is Skype showing signs of maturity?

10 Comments

In the most recent quarter, Skype added 25 million new accounts, taking its total number of users to about 196 million – up 14% from the fourth quarter of 2006.

While, it is an impressive number, it was the marginal 1% increase in the Skype-to-Skype usage to around 7.7 billion minutes, that seems to be a cause of concern. Even, the SkypeOut minutes were flat too. The massive increase in the number of users should increase usage. More over, I think this could become an issue going forward. Skype has achieved incredible penetration – 196 million versus a global broadband subscriber base of close to 300 million.

Skype Journal says that at any point in time Skype’s user base is about 60% so that makes Skype’s active user base at around 118 million or about 40% of the total broadband users.

More on this slowdown from Skype Journal.

More troubling as an indicator of demand is the flattening number of Skype-to-Skype minutes. Here we have a “no charge” service, with a widely recognized, simple user interface, and with a growing number of accounts, that is largely not affected by pricing promotional plans, yet no growth in usage minutes.

10 Comments

Tricky2d

Skype has one of the best voice/video to voice/video out there. The problem is with software like Asterisk getting easier to setup and configure you will start seeing typicaly consumers setting up their own VOIP systems. Then using cheap SIP proxies to call outbound makes Skype less needed. If Skype could keep the free outbound calling and only charging for inbound. I think if they tied in with Asterisk/Voip software they could probably could gain more profits.

T2d

Jan Geirnaert, alias tropicaljantie global Skype Ranter

I got a bit more spicy personal comments. See “Is Skype dying or already dead ? Despite all the marketing hype and “oh see the great financial results” Will Skype do and say anything to get the 2.4 billion usd bonus followed by “faster than confetti dissipation” ?” on http://www.skype-watch.com (now also http://www.voip-watch.com) or http://www.skype-gadgets.om. direct url : http://webtown.typepad.com/webtown/2007/04/is_skype_dying_.html

Barlow Keener

There are two reasons I can think of that Skype sees the users increasing without the minutes. Chat: Most of my Skype friends use Skype almost exclusively for chat. It is an excellent chat tool and a click away from a call. Chat produces no additional minutes. Mobil application: The second reason is that if users are counted as downloads, you can download Skype onto your PDA or Smartphone and use it for chat – which is what I use it for on my phone – or for calls (although the application freezes on my Smartphone when I try to make a call). So a single user may have multiple downloads, again increasing the “number” of users.

John Thacker

Skype has achieved incredible penetration – 196 million versus a global broadband subscriber base of close to 300 million.

Skype Journal says that at any point in time Skype’s user base is about 60% so that makes Skype’s active user base at around 118 million or about 40% of the total broadband users.

Hmm. I’m trying to decide if I can possibly believe those numbers, even granting that Skype is much less popular in the NANPA area than elsewhere, due to our cheaper telephone tariffs and different rate structure. Even granting that, it’s just that practically everyone I know has broadband, but practically none of them are regular Skype users. I guess it’s possible that a lot of people use Skype and I don’t know about it.

Is it possible that the account figures are total Skype accounts for individuals, but the broadband subscriber numbers are per-household? That would mean that Skype accounts would be a smaller percentage of individuals with broadband access, since many households have more than one person.

Janko Roettgers

I’m not really sure the 1% increase of Skype to Skype minutes is significant either way. You could also make a point in saying that Skype is becoming a more significant IM player – after all, these 25 million new users have to use the client for something, right?

I would be way more concerned if the number of simultaneously logged in users was flat. Maybe it actually is, but we don’t know that, so this is all just speculation …

Jesse Kopelman

What PC-based VoIP needs is better bluetooth headsets. The thing that often stops me from using Skype is that my headset is synced to my mobile. It is such a pain in the ass to switch it to my PC. Unless I know the call is going to be really long, I’d rather just eat some bucket minutes than go to the trouble of turning of disabling phone bluetooth, syncing headset to PC, and then reversing the whole process when I’m done. There are a select few headsets that can easily switch between two or more devices. Alternatively, if there were a version of Skype for Windows Mobile that didn’t eat the battery in 30 min, that would be a good option too.

LUC

I have always been confused by Skype’s stats : their reference is the number of times their soft is downloaded, right? Then here is my silly question : what of update downloads? does each of them count as 1 more installed user? tks

Peter Brockmann

Om:
you bet Skype is slowing, which is why they’re starting to consider packaging up their technologies for enterprise deployments.

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