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Summary:

We all marvel at Facebook, with its roughly 400 million users. For context, consider Skype, which at the end of the fourth quarter of 2009 had 560 million registered users, a data point Skype’s chief technology strategist, Jonathan Rosenberg, shared with the attendees of eComm.

We all marvel at Facebook and its number of users, which at last check stood at around 400 million. For context, consider Skype, which at the end of the fourth quarter of 2009 had 560 million registered users, a data point Skype’s chief technology strategist, Jonathan Rosenberg, shared with the attendees of the eComm conference currently under way just south of San Francisco.

Skype, when it was still part of eBay, issued quarterly updates but those have now stopped. Nevertheless, here are the latest numbers:

  • Skype added 39 million registered users in the fourth quarter to end the year with a total of 560 million.
  • The number of Skype-to-Skype call minutes totaled 36.1 billion in the final three months of 2009.
  • Skype users made more the 250 billion minutes worth of Skype-to-Skype calls from the time the service was launched through the end of 2009.
  • Skype in 2009 accounted for 12 percent of the world’s international calling minutes, a 50 percent increase over 2008 when it accounted for 8 percent of international calling, according to TeleGeography Research.
  • 36 percent of Skype-to-Skype calls as of the end of the fourth quarter included video — in other words, Skype is going to figure prominently in the video conferencing business, challenging more established players with its no-cost solution. Skype CEO Josh Silverman in a guest post for GigaOM explained why he views video as the future of Skype.

Here are some other random Skype stats:

  • At peak times, 23 million users are logged into Skype (as of March 2010).
  • Skype is available in 29 languages and is used in almost every country around the world.
  • 35 percent of Skype users utilize it for business purposes.

  1. Those are impressive numbers!
    Combine Skype and similar services, the (new) iPhone with video chat, free WiFi…and you realize how much potential there is in the nearly 150 year old telecommunications industry.

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  2. Jacob Varghese Tuesday, April 20, 2010

    Wow!
    So what are we missing here? Why did ebay need to unload them?

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    1. Ask Meg Whitman, California gubernatorial candidate. It looks to me like her strategy was buy high, sell low, watch someone else buy high again.

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  3. I find it interesting that the new HDTVs are starting to include Skype videoconferencing support. Interesting because video conferencing may have always been destined for the living room instead of the den.

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    1. Be careful of the use of the term “video conferencing”; currently Skype only supports one-to-one video calling, including on new models of Panasonic, LG and Samsung TV’s

      On the other hand having just listened to an audience participation session on video conferencing at eComm, all multi-party video conferencing still has a way to go to have a satisfactory video conferencing experience. May explain why Skype has yet to introduce video conferencing as a feature.

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      1. You are probably right in claiming careful use of the term “video conferencing”. But, Skype on Tv is what most domestic users will be happy with. No special / expensive equipment needed. Switch on the telly and chat. As simple as that.

        I would expect this “chat on tv” to get popular soon, and who knows, this might inspire clones, but also a more natural integration with social services. Perhaps facebook will roll it in. Or Google will dish out a more acceptable form of wave, and this time with live video chat.

        In any case, the telecom-TV convergence will be a happening place in the next couple of years. For sure.

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  4. Did anyone ask what percentage of those claimed “560 million” registered users were “real”? That number includes every Skype account that has ever been created since the first beta release – including millions of accounts that have been created for one-time use by the spammers, pornographers and sex-chat-come-on artists who infest Skype space. Every abandoned account, never used account, duplicate account and anything else that has ever been created. Skype could easily make an estimate of “real” accounts, but that does not suit their propaganda purposes.

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  5. The one stat given by Jonathan that surprised me is that there are 50 million daily accesses to Skype via the Skype Toolbars in the browsers (IE and FF).

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  6. Has anybody used competitors like VoxOX which is more feature rich combining the functionality of Skype and Google Voice? Any other competing services people like? Curious to hear some opinions.

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  7. and its still banned in UAE.

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  8. Truly impreesive numbers. With 12% of international calls, you can see there is no way but up and up and up for Skype. So long to long distance phone company providers as we know them.

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  9. Ummm… The comparison to Facebook is a very bad one. Facebook’s user count is a monthly user count, not registered users. Apples to oranges. I’m sure Facebook has much more registered users than Skype does.

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  10. [...] » Skype By the Numbers: It’s Really Big [...]

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  11. I am still missing the mobile experience of skype. Especially with regards to windows mobile ….

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  12. I really want to understand how skype does it. How does it manage so many calls simultaneously? Specially the ones that are made to regular phones. Can someone explain (their technology) ?

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  13. [...] presso Skype, ha condiviso con il pubblico della eComm conference alcuni dati interessanti, ripresi ieri dal blog di Om [...]

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  14. [...] other revelations, it turns out that in sheer audience or user numbers, Skype is actually bigger than Facebook. 560 million to Facebook’s 400 million. And growing. No wonder that major players such as O2 are [...]

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  15. [...] to the company’s chief technology strategist, Jonathan Rosenberg — and as reported by GigaOm. Skype added 39 million registered users in the fourth quarter, while the number of Skype-to-Skype [...]

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  16. [...] With all the talk about Facebook, don’t forget about Skype.  (GigaOM) [...]

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  17. [...] Skype By the Numbers: It’s Really Big (gigaom.com) April 21st, 2010 | Tags: Audio Video Interleave, Digital Video, Microsoft Windows, MP3, Multimedia, Skype, Video, Windows | Category: Uncategorized [...]

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  18. [...] Skype By the Numbers: It’s Really Big (gigaom.com) April 21st, 2010 | Tags: Audio Video Interleave, Digital Video, Microsoft Windows, MP3, Multimedia, Skype, Video, Windows | Category: Uncategorized [...]

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  19. [...] Skype By the Numbers: It's really Big [...]

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  20. Stats are impressive. I have tried other video calling software but nothing beats Skype. The quality of video is superb (even at my place where people still live below 256kbps poverty line). 12% of international calls is awesome. Way to go Skype!

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  21. Great post ,

    As a Telecom Engineer and Carrier Relations Manager I know what the 36.1 billion minutes mean .

    OMG 12% of all global traffic . Thats a lot . I hope atleast i have 1% of their traffic on my networks .

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  22. Disruption at it’s best… and yet, it’s too early to count the carriers out of the game. They have deep pockets and even deeper government regulations…

    23 million users logged in during peak times? Even though this is a big number, when considering the 6.7 billion or so people on the planet and the ubiquity of the telephone, there is still plenty of room to play in…

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  23. [...] der beliebte VoIP- und Chat-Client, hat beeindruckende Zahlen veröffentlicht: 560 Millionen registrierte Nutzer verzeichnete das im September von eBay abgestoßene Unternehmen [...]

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  24. [...] Skype has more users than Facebook – who knew?! [...]

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  25. [...] Skype By the Numbers: It’s Really Big [...]

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  26. [...] Skype is no longer a curiosity among early adopters. With more than 560 million subscribers, many of which are in the U.S., it makes perfect sense for politicians to use the [...]

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  27. [...] Skype is no longer a curiosity among early adopters. With more than 560 million subscribers, many of which are in the U.S., it makes perfect sense for politicians to use the [...]

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  28. [...] der Branchendienst gigaom.com berichtet, ist das ehemalige eBay-Tochterunternehmen Skype mit 560 Millionen (Q4-2009) [...]

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  29. I love Skype! My problem and source of my skepticism over these numbers is that rarely are any of my contacts online and Skype-able. So until they are hooked on Skype functionality will be limited. Also, I have one contact who has created 6 accounts–a new one for every time he forgets his password. That duplication may be skewing the numbers too, as I notice that behavior quite a bit…

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  30. [...] longer a curiosity among early adopters. With more than 560 million subscribers, many of which are in the U.S., it makes perfect sense [...]

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  31. This is great news – the more people will use skype, carriers will not have choice but reduce their rates.
    I can’t wait to see skype becomes integral part of cell phones.

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  32. [...] Skype By the Numbers: It’s Really Big (gigaom.com) [...]

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  33. [...] Skype By the Numbers: It’s Really Big [...]

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  34. [...] Skype By the Numbers: It’s Really Big (gigaom.com) [...]

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  35. [...] had more than 560 million registered users by the end of 2009, who together used up a total of 36.1 billion call minutes in the final three [...]

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  36. [...] Place free calls to over 560 million Skype accounts: [...]

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  37. So only 4% of its users are logged in at any given moment. I wonder if 15% logged in would it be able to handle the load?

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  38. [...]  And how were they going to exist as paid products in the future?  As Om Malik points out here: Skype is HUGE!  It’s the largest telco in the world.  They have 560 million users!  Nearly two times the [...]

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  39. To put it simply Skype Rocks. We have also used Skype for patient consults. The call quality is almost always very good, certainly on par with that of cell calls.

    Using video/telecommuting cuts down on travel cost as well. It is a much more efficient way to do business. It can’t replace face to face business, however not all meetings need to be in person.

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  40. Thanks for the good stuff Om. eBay must have sold Skype because they saw the numbers stalling and they did not want it to affect it’s financials. However, the structure of the deal implies that they do believe in the model: i.e they actually did not offload it totally but kept a 35% stake. Typically, this is a move to send a company under the radars.

    Bottom line 1: Skype had peaked and that explain their new model to sign up co-opetition deals to try to ramp the use. It’s the only reason they did not give our paid # of users.

    Bottom line 2: Facebook is about a new form of communicating – that is more comfortable to people. (and a lot more than that.) So I agree that you cannot really compare with Skype except in the number of users. This year the trendline on Facebook has it surpassing 500M users (so what took skype 10 years to build, Facebook has done in the matter of a couple years. And whereas Skype’s curve had peaked, FB is exponential.)

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  41. my contacts cannot hear me. My microphone is not on mute. My headset was purchased from Skype. Have tried everything. Nothing works. My speakers do work.

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  42. [...] conferences and making international calls.Its popularity cannot be denied; the VoIP client has over 550 million users and actually accounted for 12% of the world’s international calls in 2009. There’s [...]

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  43. [...] popularity cannot be denied; the VoIP client has over 550 million users and actually accounted for 12% of the world’s international calls in 2009. There’s definitely a [...]

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  44. [...] still thinking Skype is only good for the consumer and not the business, think again. Skype has over 550 million users and actually accounted for 12% of the world’s international calls in 2009. One-third of such [...]

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  45. [...] With Skype previously focused more on its client for Windows, it’s great to see the Mac version get some major love with features that PC owners have been enjoying. And I think you can thank Apple, and to a lesser extent, Google, for this Skype beta. Apple’s release of its FaceTime mobile video client earlier this year sent a shot across the bow of the S.S. Skype, which has generally dominated the video calling space for several years boasting 560 million registered users at the end of 2009. [...]

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  46. Skype now has a free video conference (multiple cams as of 10/10) beta running. It’s pretty good. They also routinely have 23M+ users logged in.

    The telco industry has been eaten by the baby. From providing access to the web in the 90′s via phone and cable to having phone and cable be the services of the web today.

    TV’s have been transitioning from receivers of broadcast, to broadcast, cable and monitors… now adding some PC, routing and gaming functionality… all to compete with the functionality of a monitor with a PC plugged into it.

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  47. [...] The enormity of Skype going down is appreciated when you consider that last year it accounted for 12 percent of the world’s international calling [...]

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  48. [...] more than 500 million friends, it is not surprising that many many people notice when Skype is down. According to a Skype blog [...]

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  49. [...] had 560 million members at the end of last year when it was still reporting its user numbers and has been steadily growing, with video conferencing [...]

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  50. [...] which is preparing for an IPO, currently has more than 560 million registered users, including 124 million active monthly users. At any given hour, as many 25 million people are [...]

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  51. [...] call an ‘unscheduled outage’. As a consequence many millions of Skype users (Skype claims over 550 million users which is more than Facebook by some counts) were left high and dry with only traditional i.e. [...]

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  52. [...] communication of face-to-face contact. However, new technology like Skype, which now has over 560 million users, allows face-to-face contact again without individuals even being in the same location. So, yes, [...]

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  53. [...] company is also seeing wide adoption of video chat, with it accounting for more than 40 percent of all calls made by Skype users. Skype just recently released a new app for the iPhone that allows users to [...]

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