RSS number feeds Skype are working

Yes, since some days, the RSS feeds of “Total Skype Downloads” and “Users Online Now” are working again. However …

The download counter stopped on Tuesday March 17 at the number of 1,168,075,188 downloads.

Then on Friday 27, it suddenly began to count again, but starting around 500 million downloads, and some hours later it jumped up to about 627 million. It keeps counting, but it seems Skype lost half of its historical downloads. I guess this is a bug, and that the engineers are still trying to solve it.

[EDITED AT 18h25 GMT+1] Some minutes before i published this post the download counter got stuck again at 633,382,728 downloads.

What caught my attention however is the download speed! It has risen to 1200 downloads per minute, while it was less than 600 per minute before the “counter crash. Impressive acceleration, and I made some speculations in the past about the reasons, without being sure.

[EDITED at 18h50 GMT+1]And another change: the time indicated in the RSS feeds is now GMT+1! (In the past it was GMT!). Why can't they be more consequent at Skype? GMT would be nice!


Skype on iPhone – act 2

No, don’t worry, i will not change my blog in an iPhone blog, but ... Some days ago I said there was a quite interesting solution called Fring to “Skype” on an iPhone.

Well, long before I bought my iPhone, I was a regular reader of the Belgian iPhone blog (French language) and I read something very interesting tonight! They quote another blog: according to Gigaom, Skype for iPhone could be released as soon as next week.

Om Malik
is usually very well informed, and has some direct contacts with Skype Staff. If he dares to write it, it should be true!


Skype = 8 % of international calls

Today I called 37 minutes with India. In fact it was a “social call” with a former colleague who lives there. Would I have called him if it hadn’t be a free Skype call? Certainly not.

Several bloggers or journalists comment on the new statistics of TeleGeography on calling. For instance David Meyer on ZDNET.
TeleGeography mentions that “not all of Skype's traffic is a net loss for international carriers”. My call to India was clearly one of these!

Some TeleGeography numbers concerning 2008:
  • Cross border telephone traffic: 384 billion minutes
  • Skype international traffic: 33 billion minutes
  • Total: 417 billion minutes
  • SkypeOut (Skype to landlines): 8.4 billion minutes
Skype itself says it provided 65.5 billion Skype to Skype minutes in 2008! If we believe those numbers, half of the Skype to Skype calls are international conversations!

The growth of Skype is quite spectacular!
  • 2005: 2.8% of international calls
  • 2006: 4.4%
  • 2007: I didn’t find data, but let us suppose 6%
  • 2008: 8.0%
I have to admit that the news concerning Skype is definitely positive the last months! I am curious to see the first quarter results!


17 million, waw again a million!

Again a million milestone of concurrent users online today: 17 million at 17h34 GMT (my clock in the screenshot is GMT+1)!!! This is the fifth time since September 2008! This is quite remarkable, because, as mentioned before in this blog, it is also the first time we add more than 5 millions in a September – June period.

Exciting times ahead! And a pity that Skype doesn’t tell us from which countries the growth comes from, although they unveiled a little bit of the picture some weeks ago. They gave much more detailed information in the past, before they were eBay! See for instance this blogpost from April 2005: Whose net is it anyway?. First hand information from the CEO himself!


Skype on iPhone?

In December 2003 I bought a SonyEricsson P900 smartphone. I loved it. FANTASTIC apparatus! But, the battery was dead (since almost a year I was charging it almost continuously on my laptop USB port!), most of the keys didn’t work (but i had the touchpad), it was full of scratches, etc. Therefore I replaced my SonyEricsson by an iPhone. Why? The HYPE, and my former love of APPLE … yes certainly. It isn’t a shame to admit this.

After some weeks playing with my iPhone, I have to say I am not impressed at all! I compared my SonyEricsson with the iPhone, and of course a word on Skype!

The good things:
  • Fantastic photo rotating and zooming function.
  • Yeah! WIFI! Fantastic too!
  • OK: great applications (but I had also great applications with my SonyEriccson).
  • Bookreading: quite some interesting free books.
  • Much more games and applications although I don’t use them often.
The things I used a lot on my SonyEriccson and aren’t on my iPhone:
  • Voice commands: I could do voice “recognition” calling with my SonyEriccson (Saying “Claudio” and my “SonyEriccson” called my son Claudio)
  • Copy – Paste (it seems it will be in the 3.0 iPhone version)
  • Handwriting: I could write on my screen to add or change data in my calendar or any other application.
  • Videocamera! Ooh, what an iPhone disappointment (I knew it in advance), although … when you jailbreak it you can have it!!!!!!
  • I could use my SonyEriccson as a memory stick! NOT possible with the iPhone!!!!
  • I could synchronize it without using a cable for instance with an infrared connection!
And the things I am disappointed from and that aren’t related to my former SonyEricsson:
  • I hate the omnipresence of iTunes on my PC. iTunes is all about selling music and applications, it isn’t very user friendly either. I use AIMP2 for music, an amazing piece of Russian software with lots of extras!
  • Loading videos: only MPEG, and most of the time it doesn’t work even for original MPEG videos.
Well, no native Skype on the iPhone (not on the SonyEriccson either) but yes, a very good replacement for it : FRING, only through WIFI (for the time being). But great! Fring also shows me, besides all my Skype contacts, my (very few ) MSN contacts (two of my 3 kids and some other few persons)! I can call, I can “SkypeOut” and I can chat when on WIFI. Lovely, thanks Fring! AND IT IS FREE!
But ... other dissapointment: if i want to launch another application while "fringing", Fring stops: no multitasking of iPhone applications!

To be honest, if they steal my iPhone I will scream, but only for the money. And probably I will do a more technical market comparison before deciding what will be my next mobile phone, instead of following the HYPE.


What happens with the Skype numbers?

I am quite worried for my main data sources related to my blog. Skype provides through an RSS-feed “real time” data concerning “Users Online Now” and “Total Skype Downloads”.

Well, some months ago the “Users Online Now” stopped working (it shows 0 users online) and since Tuesday afternoon (somewhere around 13h30 GMT) the cumulative counter of Skype downloads got stuck on 1,168,075,188 downloads.

Downloading isn’t impaired (i tried and succeeded to download), therefore the counter is “broken”. I hope this is a temporary problem, because my blog lives from those numbers.

Anyway, the most important number, being the “Users Online Now” or “People Online” as it is called in the Skype Client is still available through the Skype Client itself in the "Skype Contacts" tab.


Skype names by region

Some days ago eBay showed THIS to the Press:
A very long time that this didn’t happen, but finally “SOME” information about the Skype user base by “zones”. It is worth what it is worth, of course not much, because they are again CHEATING. Indeed they forget AS ALWAYS to tell to the press that the numbers ARE NOT = ACTIVE USERS! See my previous post concerning this matter here and I even found a post dated August 17, 2005 of Stuart Henshall, the original founder of Skype Journal: 50 Million --- Bull --- Skype complaining about the same cheating!

I am also quite surprised that they did put Latin-America and Africa (and Greenland) in the “Rest of the World”. I believe this is a completely STUPID split up. It would have been so easy to diferentiate at least Africa and Latin-America. But, if you read between the lines, this clearly shows that Latin-America and Africa are not important for Skype-eBay! The "rest" of the customers! I wouldn't like to be called like that!

Secondly: thanks for the fantastic abbreviations without legend on the slide: APAC? US/CAN? (how us can guess?). Of course I guess CAN=Canada and APAC … well Asia Pacific Australia C????? I Googled, but there are so many possibilities for APAC. Well, I’ll invent another one for the row of abbreviations: RoW = Rest of World.

OK, I stop with the complaining! Let us look what we can learn about the numbers.

Converting the absolute numbers in percent we get:
  1. Europe: 36%
  2. APAC: 36%
  3. RoW : 15%
  4. US/CAN: 13%
Let me remember the less attentive reader: these Skype numbers are representing the spread of the cumulative number of registered usernames (not even equal to user “accounts”), including dead, unused, multiple, spam, sex, spare and other user names!

Hudson Barton estimates the spread of “real users” (based on a time zone pattern analysis of the concurrent users online) like this:
  1. Americas: 41%
  2. Europe & Africa: 34%
  3. Asia & Pacific: 25%
What looks quite strange is the huge difference between the US/CAN number of 13% and the Americas of 41%. Even if we add the whole RoW number to the US/CAN we only get 27% compared to the 41% of Americas (Hudsons’ number). Please be aware that we are comparing apples with oranges! And i think Hudson's calculation is a quite good one!

On the other hand eBay-Skype pretends to get 20% from their Skype revenue from the USA, for less than 13% of usernames. This seems quite reasonable, because indeed revenue comes mainly from rich countries, and the USA is (still) one of the richest countries of the World.

Anyway, it is clear that Skype-eBay should focus all their attention to the growing user base of the APAC region: despite the economical crisis, I guess that there is more growth potential there! Asia is representing 60% of the World Population!


Satisfaction of the new Skype 4.0

Nadeem started an interesting poll on the satisfaction of the new Skype 4.0 client for Windows some 10 days ago, click here to go to his blogpost and poll.

I voted “For me it makes no difference”, because, I got used to it, and, besides some aspects I don’t like, there are some improvements also. How would you vote? Go to his page.

The only thing that is (in my opinion) really missing is an option for a very simple interface for beginners and less computer skilled people. Perhaps Skype can take some inspiration from the early years or from what they do for mobile devices?