Download decrease … i got it!!!

As suddenly as downloads speed went up, it went down again some days ago. Why? I think i saw the light ;-) due to an almost related comment of "Sugar" on my previous blogpost and due to the duration of this event: exactly 4 weeks. I am almost sure this is Skype induced and most probably it concerns automatic updates of the Windows Skype Client.What can we learn about it? Well, only active users (or real users like Hudson Barton calls them) will get an update. Therefore the difference between the download curve “as it should have been” and “as it was” gives an approximation of the number of active users! From my graph it seems there are 36.7 million active users who accepted to download an updated version of the Skype client.This is really very close to the estimates of Hudson Barton (he uses another estimation method), but it is a lower limit because:
  1. probably this concerns only Windows users (not Mac or Linux or others!);
  2. some people like myself already installed the updates without waiting for Skype;
  3. some people refuse to install the update.
And … in this case the definition of active users should be: all users who have been active in the last 4 weeks!


Download speed increase

Since the first week of November Skype shows an increased download speed. Previously it fluctuated around 500 downloads per minute. Now: 1400 downloads per minute. Almost triple speed since November 5!
I looked at my other data to see if there are other signs, but they are quite contradictory:
  • Concurrent users online shows a very strong growth, and we could even reach 15 million very soon.
  • Number of purchase orders doesn’t seem to have an increased growth pattern.
  • There is since September a downward trend in Skype.com website visits.
I didn’t notice any special Skype “event” that could explain this increase in downloads and active users.

What other reasons could explain the growth?
  • The economical crisis could be one motivation for people to use the “free calls” from Skype.
  • Perhaps the “Obama Election campaign” is another explanation of the phenomenon: indeed some “Obama teams” used Skype, see the Skype blogs: US Elections: Skype gets out the vote.


Skype certainly is profitable!

After publishing their Third Quarter results, eBay also published the SEC filings. There is some additional cost data in it. One interesting metric is “contribution”: this is more or less equal to “benefit before paying a management fee to eBay”, see the explanation in a previous blogpost.
The “contribution graph” shows a very interesting rising tendency.

I plotted the graph also in euro (€), because Skype is still mainly a European company. Quote from their sec filings: “Based on changes in foreign currency rates … net revenues were positively impacted by foreign currency translation of approximately $12.3 million (US$) and $46.6 million (US$) during the third quarter and first nine months of 2008, respectively, as compared to net revenues that would have been recorded had foreign currency rates remained constant.

Even in euro the rise of the last two quarters is very spectacular. How come? Let us quote eBay again: “… revenues are generated primarily from fees charged to users to connect Skype’s VoIP product to traditional telecommunication networks. These fees are charged on a per minute basis or on a subscription basis, and we refer to these minutes as SkypeOut minutes.”. Well, the next graph shows the evolution of SkypeOut minutes …
There seems to be an accelerating tendency in the last 3 quarters!
Another reason for the spectacular growth of contribution could be cost cutting and/or the focus on the revenue generating activities and stopping or putting lesser priority on some other activities, like what they did with SkypeCasts.
Conclusion: after all Skype seems to make it, even if eBay certainly paid too much for it!


The fastest million ever!

We needed only 35 days to go from 13 million concurrent users online to 14 million.

These are my screen shots at 17h55 GMT ...


Is Skype a tool for calls or chat?

On the blog of Pat Phelan somebody commented “i don’t like being attached to the computer when I am on the phone - I like to do the dishes, and pick up the apartment or office - multitasking! I do use Skype a lot for text chat.

So, is Skype mainly used for (video) calling or for chatting? Is it still a telephony replacement?

Difficult to say, no official data from Skype, and I didn’t find any survey on that topic! That was also the question that MuppetMaster asked some days ago on the Skype Forums.

On the same Pat Phelan blog, 11 comments were posted, including one of the blogger:
  • 5 say they use Skype for calls
  • 3 don’t use it anymore
  • 2 clearly use it for chatting
  • 2 don’t say anything about Skype usage
(Yes the sum is more than 11, one spoke about "calls + chats").
This statistic isn’t relevant of course, and it wasn't a poll!

I will now repeat part of my “forum” answer …

I can believe that some people never use Skype to call. Indeed, some have no microphone on their computer, or have not enough bandwidth to make a decent call, and some are even not interested at all to call with their computer.

The only official data we have is what Josh Silverman said recently: "We’ve helped make video calls mainstream, with about a quarter of Skype-to-Skype calls using video".

Now, let me try a tricky exercise:
  • Skype claims to have cumulated 100 billion minutes skype-to-skype calls.
  • Therefore last year this was about 40 billion minutes (based on a rough calculation i made).
  • If a “mean” call lasts about 10 minutes (my guess), this represents 4 billion calls last year.
  • If there are 40 million active users (raised rounded number based on Hudson Barton his guesses), this is 100 Skype-to-Skype calls per active user per year, or one each 3 or 4 days.
Not too bad, IMHO.
My personal case, rough data from the last 6 months:
  • about half of my contacts seem to have a webcam.
  • i have about 5 Skype-to-Skype calls per month, and in less than half of them i use video.
  • i have about 20 chat messages per month.
  • the proportion is therefore (in my statistical irrelevant case) 20% calls - 80 % chats.
I anyhow think the discussion is useless. Probably most people installed Skype because they heard about the “free calls + video”. Probably most of these people already had an IM tool installed, and probably most of them now chat mainly through Skype with their Skype contacts!

A lot of “probablies”. If anyone has more information, please let me know.


1 billion downloads …

Today is the Birthday of my oldest son, 22 years. But also today, at about 9h17 GMT, Skype reached the phenomenal number of 1 billion downloads.

Congratulations Stefan and congratulations Skype !!!
Some comments about this number:
  • This means about 2.8 downloads for each registered username;
  • The current mean download speed is about 500 downloads/minute;
  • In the past there were short periods where the mean download speed was much higher than 1500 / minute;
  • The last two years the speed of downloads was mainly linear (see the light blue straight line);
  • A download doesn’t necessarily mean a "new user", as “old users” also download Skype on “new or other computers” and when Skype releases “new client versions”;
  • And last but not least, Skype belongs to the top ten most downloaded applications ever.
[EDITED]Hehe, Skype was also very aware of the 1 billion, because Josh Silverman blogged on it also some minutes after reaching that milestone, but I think I was first: I posted at 9h26 GMT, and he posted on 9h35 GMT! ;-)


About growth speed

Each time that I pretend that the growth of Skype isn’t exponential, but linear or even slowing down, fellow blogger Hudson Barton tries to refute it. See his comment on my last post for instance (yes, aaytch, is Hudson himself)!

Perhaps I was a bit too fast and too rude to answer (I apologize for this), because indeed the last 12 months were much better, than the previous 12 months. But anyway, let me analyse the table to the left, to explain why I still feel I am right. The table shows the top or record concurrent users online at several dates in the past.

The third column is the mean daily (rounded) number of additional concurrent users online at “peak time” for a certain time span. For instance:
  • The last two weeks (before September 22), the mean increase was 35000 additional concurrent users online.
  • The last year it was 9800 additional concurrent users online.
  • And so on.
How do we predict the future? Based on the last two weeks (+35000)? Or on the last 6 months (only +5300!), or on the last year? We can’t predict the future of course, we only can make guesses.

Choosing periods smaller than a year is often wrong for predicting long term growth. Changes in speed in smaller periods can however teach us something about temporary effects (the success of the launch of new Skype features, or the seasonal “Northern Hemisphere summer” effect).

For the long term past growth, we the see that the 2007-2008 season (+9800 users/per day) was very much better than the previous season (+6500). Does this mean that the growth is much faster? Is Hudson right? Could be, but in my opinion, the season 2006-2007 (+6500) was a very bad one compared with the two previous ones (+8300 and +10000), and last year (+9800) was just catching up again.

Only the future will tell, and some signs are very promising: Asterisk, Client version 4.0 (a new beta version will be released very soon), Skype for iPhone, perhaps even multiparty videoconferencing, …


Fall-Winter-Summer growth

As usual after a Northern Hemisphere Summer, the growth of Skype users is again visible. Not that there is no growth in summer, but, less people are working, more people switch their computers off while they are in the garden, or they are traveling and have less access to internet. Therefore, fewer users are online at the same time.

Those summers are very visible on the "million milestones" graph that I published last week. In all the past years, excluding the first year, the dots representing the "million milestones" are quite close to each other (see the brown left braces), except when there is a July-August period in the middle (see the red "summer" arrows).So, what for 2008-2009? I would guess that Skype will as usual add two more "million dots' to its graph before July 2009 (see the Sky(pe) Blue extrapolated dots), going well over the 15 million people online. And I predict also that Skype will reach 16 million concurrent users somewhere around September 2009. But it is only a guess :-)


13 million – congratulations Skype!

So, today, another million mark was reached: 13 million concurrent users online.
After a very strong start in 2008, where two million marks were reached in a very short time span, we had to wait 210 days for the next million. This was the third longest period we had to wait for a million mark. This also means there is still a good and steady growth of Skype users, and it also means most of them are satisfied with the services offered.
But the growth isn't exponential anymore. The graph seems to show a small downward bending tendency.
I hope some innovations will cheer us up in the near future: a genuine Skype client for the iPhone for instance!

And perhaps another side comment: until right now, almost nobody blogged about these 13 million. It therefore seems to be a no-event!


Alzheimer or a Skype mistake?

Yesterday i received the following e-mail from Skype:
Your credit balance has expired. 
=== What are the rules for credit expiry? ===
  1. credit expires 180 days after your last purchase or action that used credit.
  2. Each purchase, call or SMS message resets the expiry time to 180 days.
  3. Unfortunately, if you don't use your remaining credit the balance will expire to comply with normal business accounting rules.
  4. You will receive reminder emails 30 days, 7 days and 72 hours before your credit expires.
I don’t contest the rules, although I don’t think the “to comply with normal business accounting rules” is a mandatory rule, and it isn’t a very customer-friendly rule anyway. Lucky for me that my Bank hasn’t the same policy.
And it were only some €-cents left on a spare account that I only use for testing.

What is more disturbing is the “30 days, 7 days and 72 hours” reminders. I DON’T REMEMBER HAVING RECEIVED ANY REMINDERS! Alzheimer on my side or a Skype mistake? I any case there is a justified reason for concern!


Customers' choices

Skype stopped SkypeCasts without previous warning (5 days = no time). Of course this is a total lack of respect of customers and they will loose some of them forever. I didn’t use it, therefore I am not affected, but still … it is a shame, especially “when and how” they announced it!

Microsoft isn’t a specialist either in respect of customers’ choices. My laptop downloaded Service Pack 3, and did reset some of my settings:
  • I had changed some standard start-up and shutdown Microsoft noises to something less intrusive (in my opinion), but Service Pack 3 (SP3) replaced them with the original Microsoft sounds.
  • And … SP3 also launched – against my will - Windows Messenger at start-up. Eh … I have an account, but my chat and communication tool is .
Apple isn’t better. Each time I download a newer version of iTunes, I have to disable manually the automatic launch of QuickTime.

Small nuisances, but anyway a complete lack of respect of customers’ choices.


5th anniversary and one less

Today Skype exists 5 years. Beautiful age, and although the glitter has somewhat faded away, we can say that until now it is quite a success story, perhaps not for eBay, but I don’t care for that.

350 million users they say, or more correct 350 million usernames registered in 5 years, and often a lot more than 10 million people online at the same time is quite an achievement.

Sadly however, somebody who was very close to me died. Therefore one username – and he had only one - will stay unused, and Skype will have to adapt its inflated marketing numbers: 349.999.999 users!


2nd quarter results

Better late than never, here my graphs concerning the published results of the last Skype quarter. If you want to have some explanation why I recalculate it also in € (euro), see my comments on the previous quarter here.
Revenue continues to rise steadily. Good, no further comments needed.
User accounts also continue to rise steadily. Also good, but see also my previous comments on this misleading marketing trick: user accounts is not equal to active users! Jan in Malaysia also commented on this very recently here.

What seems to be in a downward trend is the revenue per user account:
I am sure the trend would be rising steadily if we could plot the revenue per active user! But it seems Skype is scared to publish that number. Hudson Barton estimates the number of active users to be 32 million, instead of 338 million in his blog here … quite a difference!


No credit card reader … but Skype

I had very pleasant holidays in Brasil (the typo is intentional, in Portuguese Brazil is BraSil). Almost all internet cafés have Skype installed, headphones and webcam. I used it to phone home to Belgium, and to contact friends or family in Brasil. My Belgian cell phone stayed off most of the time. Even for listening to my cell phone mailbox i used Skype, with the numerical keypad to enter my code, and called at almost normal “Belgian” cell phone call prices.

I traveled around by long distance bus, and went from South to North-East. The duration of some rides was sometimes 24 hours. Bus seats are usually more comfortable than economy class seats on international flights!

Bus tickets could be bought with my credit card. Only in the small colonial town of Ouro Preto, i had to run to the bank, retrieve money and pay cash. But ooh surprise …… the guy at the “Rodoviaria” (bus station) checked through Skype with another agency of the bus company (called “Pássaro Verde” – Green Bird) if there were still free seats on the bus! The company has at least 40 Skype accounts! All their usernames end on “pv” and their full name on “*** | PV”. No credit card reader … but Skype!


Skype everywhere in Brasil

Salvador de Bahía, one of the most beautiful cities in Brazil ...


Off for Holidays

Tomorrow i leave for Brasil with my 3 sons, for 4 weeks. This is perhaps the last time i travel with the 3 of them in view of their age (22, 20 and 18). And i go to a country i know quite well, because my kids have the double Belgian-Brazilian nationality, and we have been there several times.

I will use Skype in Brasil in Internet cafés or in the house of friends, to contact my family in Belgium. Brasil is one of the bigger Skype Users Countries.
I don't know if i will blog while on holidays, but i come back for sure.


Skype stops loving MySpace?

I played around with the new 4.0 beta version. It is still very beta of course, but, apart from the ugly or missing things, there are some nice things in it. Especially the first Welcome Screen, where you can test very easily if Skype is working. Very useful for first time users.

But, what caught my attention is that when playing around with the hidden emoticons, there is one missing. The first image (on top) is an extract of the chat window of the 3.8 version. The second image, at the bottom, is the same chat text and result, and the (myspace) code for the hidden emoticon doesn’t work anymore! Is there some hidden message behind this? Is the deal between MySpace and Skype still valid?
And there isn’t neither an (Ebay) hidden emoticon from what i know!


The new version and numbers

Don’t download the new 4.0 Skype beta version (i will not post the link) unless you are an experienced user, because there are some vital functions missing, see here in the release notes.

What I can’t miss is, and it is temporarily (i hope) missing in this version are (between others):
  • Ability to turn alerts off
  • History
  • Contact groups
The new version installation file is is 24.7 Mbyte big, compared to the 21.3 Mbyte of the previous 3.8 version.

What pisses me off, and this is not related to the new version, is that Josh Silverman, CEO of Skype, says in a video where he promotes the new version: “To our community of over 300 million users all around the world, thank you very much for your passion”.

Stop the bullshit marketing talk Josh! You DON’T have 300 million users, you have perhaps 35 million users, that is a big difference, see also my very recent blog post here. Shame on you!


Recognition - thank you Jaanus!

In the beginning i collected Skype data out of personal interest to follow up the phenomenal growth of Skype. Later, i provided my data to Skype Journal, because it was fun to contribute to some discussions.

And, about two years ago i began to blog myself, for recognition. Indeed, you blog hoping that some people will read it.

Yesterday, another blogger made a reference to my blog. It happened several times in the past, but when it comes from the former main blogger and Skype Staff Jaanus Kase, this is indeed the kind of recognition i love! This means at least that some (former) Skype Staff acknowledge that my analysis is often correct!

He was telling the Skype and Firefox worlds yesterday that perhaps Skype has the world record of downloads in one single day, see his post here: Firefox 3 download day on June 17 …

My answer to his implicit question … The maximum number of Skype downloads in a 24 hours period was:
  • 1.180.000 on November 4, 2006, or
  • 2.700.000 on November 19, 2007.
This is based on my data samples. As it are samples, the Skype download record could even be higher. Only Skype can tell!

So, will Firefox break that record today? Perhaps they will do it!

One good point for Firefox compared to Skype: they release their 3.0 version as well for Windows, Mac OS as Linux. Skype Mac and Linux versions are always lagging behind the Windows version!


Skype User’s Holiday

The beginning of the year begun very promising concerning the concurrent Skype users online. In a speed record of 42 days we passed from 11 million to 12 million people online at peak time.

As my regular readers know, there are some fluctuations, resulting in less people online at:
  • “GMT”-night
  • Weekends
  • National holidays of bigger Skype countries (USA, Brasil, UK, …)
  • Christmas and New Year Period
  • Northern Hemisphere Summer Period
The graph below represents my samples of concurrent people online since the early beginning of Skype, and it seems we are entering in summer recession.
  • The points marked 1, 2, 3 and 5 are the Northern Hemisphere summer periods of 2005 till 2008.
The next “million milestone” will most probably not be reached before September. This is deceptive. Indeed, the promising “start of the year” mentioned above seems to have been a “one shot”.

All the new “features” added by Skype in the last months, including the number recognition launched some weeks ago were not spectacular enough to attract bunches of new users. This doesn't mean those features were not nice. I would even say the Skype client has improved in the last months: less bugs, more stability, better quality.

Skype continues to grow, this i am quite sure. But not at the same speed as their best year 2006, where almost 4 million “peak concurrent users” online were added! Let’s us meet in September again to witness the 13 million milestone.


Complaining again

I already complained about it in the past, in "Respect my choice": i got an e-mail from Skype for one of my unused user accounts. My language settings for this account are those of the embedded image on the left: English!

The mail I got is …

Why? Does Skype suppose there is only one language in Belgium? In fact we have three official languages, in proportional order: Dutch, French, German. And we have quite a lot of immigrants speaking Arabic, Turkish, English and other languages. Other countries also have several languages, like Switzerland, or even Estonia (some people speak Russian there) and United Stated (Spanish?).

The e-mail of Skype shows a complete lack of respect for their customers concerning language settings and choices! I personally don’t mind, but i assure you some fanatic or extremist people will leave Skype after such a mistake, and not only in Belgium!

Anyway, one good point: i tried to download the newest release of the Skype client, and this time the downloaded version was indeed the newest version.

300 million user ACCOUNTS

Have a look at that quite interesting paper on why Google should invest in new acquisitions and why it should disinvest in Skype: Will eBay Go Shopping?.
But, when will Skype stop to claim it has 276 million users? It are more than 300 million user ACCOUNTS right now, not USERS, according to Skype.

I have 20 user accounts (some spare for family members) but i am only one user!

See why user is NOT the same as user account in some of my previous posts, and here in (if i remember) the first one: How many users does Skype have today? (April 2006), and see the estimate of real (or active) Skype users here: Borderless Communicator.


MeBeam 16 + Skype

The Australian Ashod Apakian did it again. He is playing around with video conversations over the internet, and is a real freak! His first creations, in 2005, had the name WigiWigi. Nice name. And it was high quality video, never seen before. His new creation is called MeBeam. I tested it with two computers on my desk and another one downstairs with my youngest son.
Well great:
  • Video conferencing up to 16 persons
  • It is launched through Skype!
  • You don’t need to download anything, a FlashPlayer enabled webpage is enough!
  • And your videoconferencing contacts only have to click on a link in the Skype chat window!
The rest, well, read it here: Multi party video for Skype



Forum topics down :-)

Recently Ike Roelfsema, Head of Communities and Forum Operations at Skype, published a quite interesting blogpost concerning the Skype Forum with as title: “Skype, Skyper, Skypest”.

And Tamas Henning, the guy who developed the new forum also expressed his feelings in “Flip the switch”.

Let me now comment on this and let us look at the graph of new topics on the forum (see the blue curve).
The first thing you can see is that right after the launch of the new forum on April 17 (see the green line on the graph) the new topics went down to less then 30 per day. Tamas explains this like this: “Of course there has been a slight drop at the beginning but come on when you release something new this is to be expected.”. Very plausible of course, and indeed the number of new topics went up again very fast in the next days.

There has however been a downward trend, from about 80 new topics per day in March to about 50 in May. This is clearly NOT due to the new layout of the forum. The red trend line shows a downward tendency in front of the green line, and the downward tendency continues after the launch of the new forum!

Does it mean the Skype Forum is not attractive anymore? I don’t think so. Everybody knows that most people visit a forum because they have an issue to resolve! The forum is the best way to get help anyway!

Why is there a monthly decline of new topics per day? My guesses are:
Ike says also “The forum users in their 50’s have most difficulties with the new way it is designed”. Well i am 51, and after experimenting with it, i have to admit i like the new design: it is innovating, it is nice to look at, and there are more features. I hope she didn’t think about me when stating that 50+ bullshit


1000 UNRESOLVED issues

It is a pity how some bloggers misinterpret words and numbers. One guy blogged with the following title: 740 unsolved problem on Skype since 2006.
Well, he is twice wrong, it is not “PROBLEM” but “ISSUES” and it is not 740 but almost 1000!

Issues” on the Skype Developer Zone include BUGS, improvement requests, new feature requests, and so on! It concerns also ALL the clients for which there is a Skype version, including the Pocket PC and the Smartphones!

Therefore, let’s look ONLY to the bugs. There are 43 bugs with status “open, in progress, or reopened” for the Windows client. Digging deeper into them you can see that some are quite trivial, some are more serious.

Worse are the “234 new” Windows BUGS. Reading some of the titles, i saw quite a lot of duplicates, even some with the mention “fixed”, or some very trivial ones like a “typing mistake”.
I guess the “NEW" category are the bug reports that were not thoroughly analysed yet. Therefore quite a lot of them are probably not bugs. Be aware that bug reports can be filed by quite a lot of people, and most aren't Skype Staff!

Please do your homework again a1gjv. And please Skype, clean up the "NEW" list and solve the bugs!


Don’t answer, IGNORE ALIENS!

It is a plague, but it isn’t worse then viruses!

I got 3 times the same mail message from supposedly PayPal asking me to check my account (i have an account but inactive since years). Just to see what would happen i clicked on the link (don’t do it!) and FireFox warned me i shouldn’t continue! Right answer!
Then I got another mail from Mister Unknown To Me asking me to join his Skype Business Control Panel. What the heck? Will he offer me free credit?I checked the website, nothing wrong at first sight (but i didn’t dig deeper, too scared) and checked also for the Skype Username, hmm … strange. Doesn’t seem trustful!

Then my new girlfriend tried to chat with me, but i didn’t feel in the mood to answer her. Don’t contact her either, or i guarantee that nasty things could happen to you! But i swear i will have nothing to do with it!
Like i said, not worse than computer viruses, because if you don’t do anything, nothing weird will happen. Just don’t answer, don’t react. See also the interesting post of my friend Nafcom here: Account spam in the Skype and ICQ network

When could you however react? Well, look at my previous blogpost: i got a call and contact request from somebody i didn’t know, BUT … there was a very clear personal message: he said he wanted to talk about my blog, therefore i accepted to chat with him!


Hiding and showing avatars?

Today i received at the same time a call and a chat message of an unknown person. Lucky for me, this time it was a “serious” request, and not a “sex chat” request from a girl from Ghana or any other part of the world. Well, Skype has to fine tune its new release if they want to be consequent with themselves .

In the new release of the Skype 3.8 client there is this new “feature”, with this explanation:
In addition, we’ve hidden the avatar by default in incoming authorization requests. Some people have been using images that others don’t find all that pleasing.
But what about “unwanted calls”?
As you can see, the avatar shown in the chat request is hidden by default, but the avatar from the call is shown! Therefore, even for “new callers” they should hide the avatar by default if they want to be consequent!


Shifts in website visits

In January i expressed my surprise on the 4 smaller countries in the top 5 of Skype.com visitors.

Then some weeks ago i caught again data from the Alexa website. And i did it again on May 1.

The table below shows the top 5 visiting countries of the Skype.com websites on those 3 different dates.
Here the objective remarks:
  1. In January 16.5% of the visits came from 4 smaller emerging countries (Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Algeria and Slovakia), and 9% from "Big Brother" U.S.A.;
  2. On April 15, one of the smaller countries left the top 5 and was replaced by … China!
  3. On May 1st, all the smaller countries left the top 5, and were replaced by 3 big rich industrialised countries (Germany, Italy, United kingdom);
  4. The U.S.A. has reinforced its first position: it has more then doubled its share of the website visits, with 20% of all the visits;
  5. China also increased its share and rose from the third position to the second position;
  6. About 25% of the visits came from the top 5 countries in January and April 15, and rose quite spectacularly to 43% after April 21!.
Now the “why’s” and of course, here i am speculating, because i don’t have access to the commercial data of Skype related to purchases or downloads or new user accounts per country:
  1. In January the smaller emerging countries were in the top 5 because they invest heavily in fast internet connections, which means that people now have the possibility to use Skype, therefore … more website visits!
  2. The addition of China in the top 5 is a confirmation that the Chinese internet penetration is accelerating;
  3. Skype launched its new calling subscription plan on April 21. A lot of people from rich countries went to the website to check the prices;
  4. The interest of the USA in the new subscription plan is also very clear!
  5. And China continues to grow!
  6. Spending money on Skype is a rich countries business!
Does this mean that the new subscription plan is a success? I don’t know. I also took a look at the website, but didn’t subscribe. Huge amounts of new customers could also mean a lot of new downloads, and i don't notice anything there, see my previous post. I think it will be a shift in consumption pattern for some people, and this does not necessarily mean an increase in revenue for Skype.


Download slowdown & bug

Vengeance and hatred is not a good motivator to blog. Jamie Watson helped a lot of Skype forum visitors, especially on video problems, until he was banned because he didn’t respect some basic forum behaviour rules. Since that time he is – through his blog - throwing around a lot of bullshit, lies, exaggerations, and statements taken out of their context, only to satisfy his own ego! This is a pity, he is loosing every bit of credibility!

My time to complain however! I tried to download the new Skype client version “” on my Windows XP laptop, and i got the older 3.6 version. I even tried to download it through 3 different browsers. Then i tried it on my “Vista Desktop” and hurrah! I could download the latest version without problems. Strange that Skype doesn’t solve that bug, it is already many months old! Confusing for inexperienced computer users and bad for the image of Skype! Not everyone is affected however. But the good news, and whatever Jamie Watson will tell you: the new version solved some problems for me, and the call quality is excellent as almost always!

More about the downloads …

As suddenly as the speed of downloads went up around the end of February, as suddenly it went down around April 15. I speculated that the rise of downloads was due to the Oprah Winfrey effect in the USA, but why did it stop so suddenly (see the red curve on the graph below)?It even seems that the download speed is lower then at the beginning of this year.
There is however no clear correlation between the number of downloads and the users online:
  • From January 1 till April 7 "peak users online" grew with 2 million!
  • The increase of download speed started at February 25 and stopped at April 17
  • "Peak users online" went slightly down from 12.7 million to 12.4 million at peak time in the last 4 weeks!
Why are "concurrent users online" not growing anymore? I can only speculate here …
I guess Christmas presents end of 2007 generated some indirect Skype boosting effects:
  • new computers, webcams, Skype compatible phones, upgrades to Windows Vista, mobiles with internet access, etc. ... but the effect of this on Skype has stopped!
  • and, the Oprah Winfrey effect also stopped.
Again: this is only speculation!


Money and Active Users

The following graph shows the contribution of Skype to the eBay revenue for the last 5 quarters, expressed as well in US$ as in € (euro). Contribution is basically “revenue less costs”, see one of my previous posts.This has clearly a flattening tendency.
The same number expressed per User Account is even worse:It has a downward tendency, although, according to Skype the user base has increased with 33 million! Pity that they only report the number of registered user accounts, and not the active users.
User accounts includes also the multiple accounts of one person, the accounts that are completely abandoned for whatever reason, including the accounts of deceased persons.
Estimates from Hudson Barton and myself of active users are below 35 million!
By the way, what happened with the Skype Account(s) of Russel Shaw?