Why Skype’s 10 billion Minutes Are No Big Deal


So for one day I leave the calculator in the bag, and try to be a nice guy … not forever, but just for one day. And guess what happens. I get spanked! Aswath Rao, does what I should have in the first place, and figures out via some serious number crunching that 10 billion minutes served up by Skype are not such a big deal. Each Skype user is generating only two minutes of usage every month day. Moral of the story: if you are going to be a skeptic, you really cannot have a day off. Not even one! Sigh!


NIk Cubrilovic

Daniel the minutes served includes free minutes between users, which does mean that the total figure is not all that impressive. All MSFT need to do is add msnIN and msnOUT to the already existing voice and video features of MSN and Skype will suffer a massive drop.

I noticed that the Skype website now points out 125M downloads, as opposed to the minutes served as a praise-point, which is impressive in a way, though downloads are no indication of number of users (especially active users – for instance I have downloaded Skype over 10 times (PC, laptop, pocket PC etc.) but at the moment am not an active users)).

Will they breach the Kazaa ‘record’ of 250M downloads? If anything I would say that Skypes popularity is tapering off (just from my own experience). If Skype started supporting SIP, and became non-proprietry tomorrow, that would impress me.


If you say so; 2 minutes is not shabby. But if I beleive some of the bloggers, many people keep the session up and listen to background sound for ever. So what percentage of the 10B minutes is nothing conersation? It is like during the early days of IM, people used to brag that their system handled x million messages per day; except they didn’t say that “i c” and “y” added to the count.

My point is they give out statistics that are not properly defined, but then they hide some that will be real measure of economical viability. Sure it is their perogative; but then I will try to prick the ballon if it is inflated.

Jesse Kopelman

I think 2 minutes a day isn’t that shabby. Remember, few use Skype as their only, or even primary, line. Most Skype users probably have at least one other land line they use on occasion and a cell phone. There is only so much talking that can be done in one day — although I will grant you it is a hell of a lot more than 2 minutes. Still, 2 minutes a day is not a bad start. I doubt early 80s mobile phones did much more than that.

Scott Rafer

Don’t ignore the IM aspect. I haven’t seen an IM market share report lately, but I’d be surprised if Skyped isn’t in the top 4 for certain geographies (displacing one of AIM, Y!, or MSN) by the end of 2005.

Aswath Rao

First apologies. I mistyped month when I should have said day. So the average use is 2 minutes per day. Still, I think the point still holds.

Now to Daniel’s point, they did not sell 10 billion minutes. This is a count of skype-to-skype calls. I don’t think they do not include In/Out minutes. Otherwise we can estimate their revenue potential.

I thought ShypeOut is available in China. Is that not the case?


Considering many of the users of skype use only the IM and chat (ie. the free parts) I think having sold 10 billion minutes is a big deal.

i think the proper math would be to divide out an actual payment ( 10 euros) and figure out the actual minutes to euros and then see how many purchases have been made.

that would be acurate.

however, it is true, what you are saying is that while they have 10 billion minutes sold, they really should have ALOT more given that they have so many users.

I think once a microphone comes standard and once china and other countries open up their doors to the SkypeOUT and SkypeIN features, then things will really boom for Skpye.

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