Predictions for Skype Growth

Hudson Barton is one of those fanatic Skypers, quite active on the Skype Forums, he already published some posts on the (now agonising) SkypeJournal and appeared in my blog too. And he is a Macintosh user! Here he is again …

He made a very extensive analysis based only on publicly available data like the concurrent Skype users online, number of downloads of the Skype client, press releases or EBay’s quarterly results.

The most “innovating” aspect in his study is IMHO the way he tries to make an estimate of regional distribution of Skype users. Read his complete analysis here:

Skype Growth: Analysis and Forecast for 2007

His main conclusions are:
  • At the end of 2006 Skype has 22 million "real" users worldwide, and that will increase to 34 million in 2007.
  • 85% of Skype users are outside the USA.
  • Skype is still growing exponentially and will continue to do this in 2007.
  • Financial success - the kind that will satisfy investors critical of the amount EBay paid for Skype - is still quite far off.
  • There is no substance to the claim that Skype is a great success in China or any other developing country.
  • Enterprise usage is not as much of a factor in Skype's growth as some claim it to be.
  • Skype enabled WIFI phones and broadband wireless networks are going to have a significant impact in 2007.
  • Skype is hurting its competitors terribly, mainly on price but increasingly with hardware and services. This includes not only PSTN and Cable competitors, but also telephonelike VoIP service providers, SIP providers and instant-messaging services.
  • Skype is becoming a sort of social or collaborative network, supporting concepts of group-ware and Web 2.0.
Interesting views! If you are interested in numbers, you really should read here!


Unhide hidden emoticons :-)

Probably my first real "software evaluation" post ...

Just click here to reach the page to download this funny tool, developed by Markus "Uniquex":

It works, but as Skype Forum Super User Lukman Chowdhury suggested, "it might be a little more user friendly if there was some visual/auditory signal that the click was registered".


Residential VoIP in USA

Somebody did send me the following link: In-Stat Reports 7.9 % of U.S. Households Now Use a VoIP Telephone Service

I will not reproduce the whole article (read it, quite interesting!), but made a graph with the data:

Nice, Skype in the first position!

Some remarks:
  • They say 9 million households use VoIP
  • This means more then 9 million persons
  • My guess: 2.5 persons per household (?)
  • 2.2 million Skype Households in the USA
  • Therefore about 5.5 million Skype Users in the USA?
Also interesting: “more than 40 % of client-based VoIP users use their residential VoIP service either in part or in whole for business purposes”

Phew ... SkypeJournal is back

I saw it this morning (well, in fact yesterday, because it is already 01:22 here) that the link was restored.

But much better, Alec Saunders got a comment on his “Skype Journal death watch” post from Jim Courtney, one of the two remaining main bloggers of Skype Journal, telling him that indeed posts will begin soon again after some technical issues are resolved.

Now, and i know this isn't very diplomatic or very kind, but here a chat conversation between myself and another famous Skyper:
[27/12/2006 14:14:45] I say: Skype Journal is online again, but without any change!
Agony ... (envy)
[27/12/2006 14:15:22] Skyper says: Soon they will post every hour to catch up
[27/12/2006 14:15:58] I say: Ah ... full of bullshit like it was usually in the last months
[27/12/2006 14:16:24] Skyper says: Since Bill left
[27/12/2006 14:16:27] I say: I miss the technical posts of Bill
(note that the two sentences above were typed simultaneously)
[27/12/2006 14:16:34] I say: yes, we agree!
[27/12/2006 14:17:26] Skyper says: of course we do

In fact, what i would like for the new Skype Journal:
  • philosophical discussions are sometimes ok (what i called "bullshit" above)
  • reports from visits to conferences are sometimes ok (also often bullshit IMHO)
  • reports concerning competing products is often ok
  • strategic or revenue information about Skype is ok
  • reports on user base growth is ok
  • reviews of new related software is ok (this is really lacking now!)
  • review of new related hardware is ok (this is really lacking now!)
  • and probably i forget some other topics
Ooh yes, one person was doing all the hard- and software testing, until Phil and Bill (or was it Bill and Phil?) quarrelled childishly on their own blog (i don’t care who was the bad guy, i care about Skype Journal!).

So … or reintegrate Bill, or replace him by one or two other hard- and software testers!

This is a very personal opinion, and my preference goes to posts on:
  • Hardware
  • Software
  • Numbers
  • Strategy and marketing
I am sure others prefer the philosophical posts, conferences, competing products, etc.
That diversity in topics was the strength of a team of mainly 4 people! Now only 2 are left: hire the lacking competence!

But i am happy to see "agonising" Skype Journal online again, hoping they will be sane and alive soon!


SkypeJournal wanted dead or alive

Everybody is scared ...

Jan in Malyasia: How to let something die ...

And Alec Saunders: What’s going on at the Skype Journal?

and, somebody i don't know yet, Jon Arnold:
Where's Skype Journal?

and then news from Jaanus Kase, the main official Skype blogger, on his personal blog: a note from SkypeJournal!

The second and fourth posts gives us some hope that Skype Journal will be found ... alive!

Skype Journal is almost dead!

Will Skype buy the domain name?


Merry Christmas

Independently of beliefs, religion, origin, race, … i wish everybody a nice End of Year period, although i know the word “everybody” is too optimistic!

Some Skypers are wondering why the number of users online seems to be going down (from around 8.4 million at peak time to scarcely 8 million last week, and next week will be worse!!).
No panic! This is “as usual” …

Every Holiday period (Northern Hemisphere summer, around the Christmas and New Year period, and the main National or religious Holiday of the bigger Skype user countries) shows a loss of users online. IMHO this again shows that Skype is used mainly by the working class adults while they are working.


Is SkypeJournal dead?

Yesterday i asked to another fanatic Skyper “Did you notice there seems to be some problem with Skype Journal?”. Well, she didn’t notice because she had been very busy with other things the last weeks.

Then about one hour later, another fanatic Skyper asked me: “what's going on with skypejournal?”

I really don’t know! What I know is that:
  • The last post is from December 4
  • In the newer posts there is a problem when you try to make a comment or click on the “continue reading …” button
  • There were no recent updates of the "comment river" (and comments always had unacceptable delays IMHO)
  • They copied one of my post (they got permission to do that even without warning me, although i would like to be informed), and the image of my post doesn’t appear in theirs!
  • Most recent posts where from Phil Wolff (Editor in Chief)
  • There is a small message saying “Thanks to our Founding Alumni: Stuart Henshall, Bill Campbell” and indeed they didn’t post anymore
  • Hardware or software reviews related to Skype have almost disappeared (Bill was mainly doing this – and it was one of the main reasons i was reading Skype Journal!)
So what? Dead or alive?

: a new Windows version released today (version


Headphone or USB phone?

Some days ago Johan told on his blog (in Dutch) that it is useless to have a “wired” USB phone for Skype.

I agree completely!

Yesterday i had to call to Bank Card Company (“BCC”, the emitter of my VISA credit card). I knew beforehand that i would be placed in a waiting queue for very long minutes! Therefore i decided to make a SkypeOut call.

Good news and bad news concerning the call quality:
  • Bad was the call quality, and the last weeks i experience this quite often for my local SkypeOut calls in Belgium
  • Good was that the Skype dial tones were very well recognised by the automated choice recognition system of BCC!
But … i was happy to have my headphone!
While i was waiting almost 14 minutes before a helpdesk operator attended my call, i could:
  • Use my both hands to continue typing on my computer
  • Walk around in my office (my headphone has a wire of more than 2.5m long !)
And when they picked up the call, i could complain, and still use my both hands on my keyboard to look for information concerning my complaint!

So, very happy with a headphone on my head!

What I would like is to have a “DECT wireless headphone”, not a Bluetooth, the range is too small! Then i could walk away to my kitchen or to the bathroom!


New hidden emoticons

I was completely wrong in my previous post (this isn't the first time anyway!), there are NEW hidden emoticons:The codes are:
(poolparty) (swear) (bug) (fubar) (tmi) (mooning) (finger) (bandit) (toivo) (drunk) (smoke) (rock) (headbang) (flag:be) (flag:br)

Only the 5 first ones are new!
And the "flags" are not really hidden, and there are much more!

Thanks to the post of Jan in Malaysia, another crazy Belgian Skyper and blogger like myself, and from the same city (Ghent), although he lives abroad!


New 3.0 version!

A new “non beta” version was released!

Non beta? Well, almost …
• known issue: Skype may crash on rare cases after ending video call

and among others:
• feature: Rich Mood Messages
• feature: Connection Wizzard (typing mistake isn’t mine!)
Quite interesting also: there are some new emoticons!Are there also new hidden emoticons? I don’t know, but, being in contact with some Skype beta testers, i didn’t notice anything new! So, i guess there are no new hidden ones!


Twice Skype Mentioned!

Tonight i was at a meeting of my Consultants Association. Dramatic meeting: although there are several hundreds of consultants in Belgium, we never succeeded to attract more then 50 members. We are now less then 30, so we are thinking to stop the activities. It is a pity, because most are really very interesting people!

But that isn’t the point! We were about 12 people there at the meeting. And during the conversations i noticed that twice somebody mentioned Skype (no, i didn’t!) in relation to calls abroad to Russia and Spain! I know that at least 11 members have a Skype account, which is 1 out of 3.

Most consultants of our Association are small independent people, i mean not employed by bigger consulting companies (but sometimes used as subcontractors by them)!

Quite a good result for Skype!


Slowdown of downloads

November has been a strong month for Skype in number of downloads. Of course there was the “British marketing Campaign”, the release of the new 3.0 beta version and some previous marketing campaigns in the USA and Canada. But this acceleration in the number of downloads seems to be ending …Before November, the speed of downloads fluctuated between 200 and 800 downloads per minute. In November I registered numbers fluctuating between 700 and more than 3000 downloads per minute. Now the speed is going down quite fast back to “normal values”.



You know how i like numbers …
Well, Skype Journal published a very interesting article on December 4!
Here the image … but go to Skype Journal to read the full story, quite interesting to temper the enthusiasm about the growth of Skype!

edited December 05, 2006: here the original link to TeleGeography


Funny visual chat bug

I was chatting with Ike, and i typed a non-existing flag code, and weird … see the ellipse!

The text appeared within the coloured zone with the name of the chatter and time of the message.

We played around and tried to reproduce it, see our chat history. You can even place emoticons in the coloured zone. My Skype client version is Windows beta!


Free Skype phone!

I received an e-mail today from a well known company who delivers “officeware” at location. If I buy for at least 99€ (ex VAT) I can choose between two presents. One is a USB Skype phone! No, it is NOT SPAM, i subscribed to their e-mails!

Funny, Skype free hardware used to make people buy pens, paper, ink, blank CD’s and DVD’s, printer cartridges, etc!


Copy profile text

Sometimes i discover some feature i didn’t know about.
I “right clicked” on the profile of a person hoping to copy only its picture … didn’t work. However all the text was copied on the clipboard. This is the result of copy-pasting the profile of “echo123” in this blog:
Skype Name: echo123
Full Name: Skype Test Call
Gender: Female
Language: English
Location: United Kingdom
Homepage: http://www.skype.com/help.html
About Me: "Hi, this is Skype automatic sound test service. Add me to your contact list and give me a call to test your sound setup. See http://www.skype.com/help.html for more assistance. Thank you."
Two remarks:
  • Depending where you right-click, you get two different “messages”, see the red ellipses on the screenshot.
  • Yes, if i need a screenshot, i know the “printscreen” button or the ALT+”printscreen” :-)


15M+ HAPPY users!

Skype claims it has more than 130 million users. But, as i said before (see my post some months ago in Skype Journal) the word “users” isn’t correct: it should be “usernames” or “user accounts”.
Anyway, how many regular users does Skype have now?

I found an interesting comment (with the typing mistake ;-) on the Skype Forums:

Oct 29, Gladiator:
… you should rember there are over 15M+ HAPPY users with SKYPE …

I guess the “M” stands for millions!

Forum user “Gladiator” isn’t an ordinary Skype Forum user: Adam Harris (see his profile), is forum moderator! He is also poster number 1 with almost 17.000 posts or 23 posts per day or 5.4% of total forum posts. Probably he “knows” the figure “15M+ happy users” through his regular contacts with Skype Staff!

Around October 29, the peak number of concurrent users online was about 7.8 Million. Can we therefore, as a first approximation, say that the “record number” of concurrent users online multiplied by 2 = real active users?

If this is correct, and knowing that now record peak concurrent users online is around 8.25 million, we have right now about 16.5 million happy regular Skype users.

updated at 17h20 GMT: new Skype Windows Beta version today!


Belgacom recognizes …

... implicitly that Skype is it biggest competitor in VoIP!!!

Belgacom is the former Public monopolistic PSTN provider, and still the biggest telephone company in Belgium: they offer PSTN, mobile subscriptions, ADSL lines, webhosting and webdesign, hardware, etc.

Today i received a questionnaire with as title: “Do you think you pay too much for your telephone services?”, and i can win a webcam or USB watches!

But what caught my attention was this question:Translated (from Dutch) this means:
  • Do you already use VoIP?
  • If yes, which operator?
And a list of 6 companies! The first one mentioned is Skype! If they had been placed in alphabetical order, Skype would have been on rank n°4!


I don’t understand anymore

I really don’t understand anymore the behaviour of the growth of concurrent Skype users online, or is the counting system of Skype flawed?

Today we hardly reached 8 million people online. Usually, on a Monday, we always beat the highest number of the previous week, unless there is a big Holiday in one of the major Skype User countries.

8 million today, compared to 8.150.000 last week, is about 2% less. The only country that had a day off today, was Mexico: Día de la Revolución (Revolution Anniversary). (The other 3 countries mentioned on this link havn’t a day off!).

According to some previous statistics of Ruell Consulting, Mexico represented last year 1.4% of the Skype population, therefore (unless Mexico grew a lot) it can’t be Mexico!

Strange, I really don’t understand anymore.


Feriado no Brasil?

Last Wednesday, Hudson Barton started a chat with me to try to find why the number of Users Online had gone down, see the graph below (screenshot from http://nyanyan.to/).Indeed, the usual “past” behaviour was a steady rise from Monday to Wednesday included (see the blue curve), a slow decrease on Thursday and Friday (weekend begins in some Muslim countries), and very significant decreases on Saturday and Sunday (weekend in most countries).

We made several guesses, but didn’t find a common explanation.

I still think it was Brazil. Indeed it was an official Holiday: “Proclamação da República”.

The number of users online at peak time went down by almost 5%! This is a huge number of course! Could it have been the Brazilians? Probably! According to Ruell Consulting, in November 2005, Brazil was number one Skype User with 8% users, and even previous information from Skype showed 6th position (5.85% users – April 2005) and 4th position (7.24% users – October 2004).
Why I do believe it could be Brazil:
  • Most Brazilians have probably broadband at work and use Skype there, so business users are (all of them) disconnected!
  • Peak time “users online” is about 16h GMT, or 14h Brazilian coastline time!
  • At that moment they are on the beaches drinking cachaça and eating shrimps :-) , not in front of a stupid computer screen
I could be wrong, but if I am right, this means Brazilian Skype users represent more than 5% of the online population at Peak Time!


Skype Folder Pollution

It has been a “very very old complaint” on the Skype Forum that Skype placed some folders in the "My Documents" folder (Windows XP version), without a gentle way to move them to another place!

And version 3.0 is even worse! I am angry too :-(

But the “My Documents” folder isn’t the only place where you find Skype folders: i noticed – excluding multiple Skype accounts – 4 main places. You can probably reduce it to 3 main places if you have only one Windows XP user account!

I counted 31 folders in total, excluding the 250 folders in the “chatsync” folder! Therefore, total number of folders in my case: 281! Pfewwww!!!!! And again: this without counting the other Skype accounts folders!

Some comments on some selected folders:

  1. This is a new folder with version 3.0 :-(
  2. An old one, i always delete the bunch of ugly Skype avatars after the installation of a new version
  3. Also an old one: i store all my Skype related stuff there
  4. A new one, that i deleted, but Skype created it again, without recreating the deleted wallpapers
  5. The first (1) folder with the name “Skype”
  6. Plugins, also new since 3.0 i guess
  7. Ooh no … i thought Skype was used mainly by business people!
  8. Second (2) folder with the name “Skype”
  9. A user account i never use
  10. my main user account
  11. I didn’t want to show the content of this folder: it contains in my case exactly 250 subfolders, i guess with my chat history in it!
  12. folders of spare accounts or folders of other people who used their Skype account on my computer (this happens!)
  13. third (3) folder with the name “Skype”
  14. ooooh, here all the ugly Skype avatars, that i usually try to delete, are stored again!
  15. and here again the wallpapers!
  16. new since 3.0
  17. new since 3.0 i guess

There have been some posts on the Skype Forum with a solution for moving the folders located in the “My Documents” folder, one of those here.

But the solutions should be implemented only by experienced people!

Please Skype, what i would like:

  • The possibility to place the folders anywhere i want
  • The possibility NOT to download avatars and wallpapers

But i am confident they will listen to the customer because it is already possible to:

  • Install the Skype program file in another folder
  • To “NOT” update the plugins!
  • To “NOT” install the plugins for Mozilla and Internet Explorer!

This option isn’t very visible, but when you tick the “YES, I have read …” (what almost nobody reads) box in the first installation screen of the SkypeSetup software, you can click on an OPTIONS button, and choose another Skype client installation location, and untick some boxes concerning the other options!


Web versus Skype

Some days ago i discovered the blog of Adrian Cockcroft.
He made some short but very interesting comparison! Herewith the title (click on it to go to the full article) and some “teasers”:
Web vs. Skype, a paradigm shift
The … web … everyone can get to everything.
Skype … the opposite of the Internet.
… some things that are easy on the Internet are difficult on Skype, and vice versa.

... This is the start of something interesting ...
I never looked at it this way, but ok, everybody knows i only look at the numbers!


User Satisfaction Survey

I was warned by Ike that there was an independent Skype Satisfaction survey. Funny, they initiate their survey through the Skype client. Here is the start:

Skype User Satisfaction Survey
Before proceeding, be sure that Skype is installed on your machine. To download Skype please visit Skype.com.

This is a short survey interested in Skype user satisfaction. It consists of a brief Skype-based automated phone call, followed by a form with several simple multiple-choice response questions. The information gathered during this survey is for research purposes; no personal information will be sold or redistributed.

Click here to begin the survey.

After completing the phone call portion of the survey, you will receive a Skype chat message with a link directing you to the follow-up multiple-choice questions. Thank you for your participation.


Emoticons in the mood

Yesterday, wandering around on my Skype contacts, i noticed that Simon had an emoticon* in his mood**. This is a new feature of the Skype 3.0! As i am dumb, i didn’t find how to do it, so i had to ask him: very simple, just type the code of the emoticon in your mood, for instance type “(call)(without the quotes, but with brackets) to see the emoticon shown in Simon’s mood. He told me it would be bad for my reputation if i blogged that i learned this from him … but my reputation is already bad ;-)

*emoticon: the small pictures and faces you can insert in our Skype chat window
**mood: the small window next to your picture space in your Skype client window


Download speed up!!!

[Sunday, 10h30 GMT+1] Some hour ago, after my coffee, i updated my Skype stats file, and i noticed something unusual for a Sunday morning: the speed of downloads* is above 3000 downloads per minute. Due to Skype 3.0? I doubt about it, it was released on last Wednesday! And probably this is happening in (Austral)-Asia. The Europeans were still in bed when it began, the Americas are still asleep. I will update this post today if i notice more weird things.

[Sunday, 12h00 GMT+1] Everything back to normal! Download speed is now around 1250 per minute. This is anyway quite high compared to the June-October period, where it almost never went above 800 downloads/minute. I had one visitor of Singapore the minutes after publishing the post at 10h30 GMT+1: indeed Asia was still awake! But i am wondering why this sudden and very temporary increase!

*Speed of Downloads: two latest registered number of downloads of the Skype client as captured from the Skype RSS feed, divided by the time span in minutes.


Mea culpa … 3.0

My mistake (see my post below), Skype 3.0 has indeed quite some new features, as explained on the Skype website and in Skype Journal.

One of the features is the possibility to have a Wallpaper in the Skype client, but I didn’t find how to revert to the standard background!

Another feature are the Public Chats.
Jaanus, the Skype Main Blogger says: “what public chats offer are better moderation controls, letting anyone join without being “added” and letting you have a link to a chat straight on your webpage, e-mail or any other place.

And it seems they are moving towards better control of the features of Skype for IT managers! This phrase was taken from their new Skype Guide for Network Administrators : “Skype gives you control – You can turn off or configure a variety of Skype’s functionality or settings, including file transfer and the API.

Still another feature is the “Skype Extras”.Soon you will be able to play games or use other software tools through your Skype client! Aren’t they tackling too many user categories at the same time? Business users, gamers, chatrooms, callers, … ???


A contrary view ...

Herewith the very interesting updated view of Hudson Barton, see also his input in the previous post here.
He says:
The "peak" number is nice for media reporting, but it does not actually tell us much about the growth of Skype. Here is my observation based upon a different way of looking at the "concurrent online" data.Growth in the last month is showing increasing variation between Europe, America, and Asia. Whereas historically the three regions have grown at a similar pace, with Asia slightly underperforming, in more recent days American and Asian growth has picked up while European growth has faltered relatively. Here is the growth from 10/11 to 11/8 (precisely 4 weeks) as measured at the time of each continent's greatest relevance.

We'll see if this trend continues. I suspect it will.


Skype 3.0 beta released

Yesterday Skype released version I always thought they would upgrade version 2.6 to a 3.0 number, see my post here.

And indeed, the differences between the previous version and the are (from my point of view) quite small, see the change log.


8.000.000 online!

Today we reached, two days later than my prediction of September 9, 8 million concurrent users online.

(screenshot taken from www.nyanyan.to)
I am disappointed, not only because of my wrong prediction ;-) , but much more because i had hoped that we would reach the 8 million much earlier.

Herewith the updated table with “million milestones” and in the third column the number of days between each milestone:
Prediction for the 9 million concurrent users online: January 9! But i hope we will reach it before Christmas!


Not today :-(

My prediction (see my previous post) was wrong!
Quite close though: the RSS feed of Skype showed 7.955.862 million people online at 16h00 GMT.
It will be tomorrow ... i hope!


Ta(l)ke off for Britain?

Around October 25 Skype released its Talk for Britain campaign.
Although the number and the speed of downloads isn’t a good indicator of the growth of the user base, it still indicates “something”. The last months the speed fluctuated between 200 and 800 downloads per minute, depending on day – night fluctuations. On October 25 i noticed (unaware of the Britain campaign – i am not British!) a speed of 1000 downloads per minute between 16h and 20 h GMT!
And since October 31 the speed has fluctuated between 400 and 2000 downloads per minute, more than double the previous speeds! This is also visible on the graph below.Could it be the British campaign is successful? The French campaign in September didn’t show such an increase in downloads, although there was probably a positive effect. It was probably quite unsuccessful and masked by the end of the summer slowdown, see my explanation about this phenomenon here.
In this post i made a guess that we would reach 8 million concurrent users online on November 6. I "guess my guess" was right: watch your screen on Monday around 14h GMT!


SMS problem (2)

Two Skype friends pointed out that the SMS problem, mentioned in my blog here, isn’t due to Skype.

One told me that his mobile did the same as the Skype client: “ç” stole some 90 character places. But when i tried with my mobile, this didn’t happen.

Another one pointed me to an interesting Skype Forum post here (yes, i know, i should have looked myself ;-).

In fact, i agree, this problem isn’t entirely due to Skype:

Some older mobiles don’t reassemble split messages correctly, so, ok, i recognise that i was wrong to blame Skype for this.

Concerning the special characters, Raul Liive, from Skype Staff answered a question related to it in the forum post mentioned above like this: “(SMS split in two) because € sign is not part of default character set and therefore SMS will be sent in UNICODE which has lower limit for message length.”

I agree this has to do with SMS encoding. But Skype could put some code in their client to circumvent this problem: why not detect those special characters provoking the UNICODE problem and replace them with other characters: “ç” with “c”, or “€” with euro? Or any other trick. IMHO this isn’t too difficult to program. And people will not get angry anymore! No, i don’t want to blush for this!


USA grows faster!

Hudson Barton likes to chat with me about the growth of Skype. I mentioned some weeks ago a slowdown of the growth of users online.

He tried to refute it, and made some own analysis of the data.

He began to register data concerning concurrent users online on October 7, till the end of last week. Here follows his explanation:

  • Current # = Average of three measurements in past week (Sunday and two "normal" weekdays)
  • Growth # = Average of weekly growth for past 3 weeks (difference between weeks at same hour of same day)
  • Growth % = ratio of initial average and the growth.

The red row is my “peak time registration” of the same weeks as those of Hudson’s data (in the meantime peak has reached a maximum of more then 7.9 million).

The numbers are “proxies” for geographical areas, and not measurements of the users in each area.

His calculation is based on the fact that Skype is used mainly by Business users, and that they have their computers (with Skype) on at the following hours, and business users of the other regions have switched it off at the same moments:

  • Americas = 19 or 20 GMT
  • Europe = 11 or 12 GMT
  • Asia = 2 or 3 GMT

Obviously, there is some group (in all continents) that leaves their computers on all the time, and there are also quite a lot of non-business users.

But, the interesting fact is, that the numbers seem to show that the America’s (therefore probably the USA) is growing faster than the other regions: 3.26%.

Hudson says: Because these three continents are separated by 8 hours, these numbers are proxies for the growth of business Skypers, but not necessarily for the growth of non-business Skypers. He could be right: non-business users use their computers more outside business hours.


Is Skype NOT VoIP?

Business Contact is a 3-monthly IT-magazine for Small Businesses in Belgium. It is a completely free and commercial magazine. Their September number has an article on VoIP. I translated the title, and the first paragraph from Dutch:

What is VoIP?"

"Let us first tell what it isn’t: it isn’t free World-wide calls, it isn’t Skype™, it isn’t being able to call only those people who also have VoIP, it is not restricted, you don’t loose all the possibilities of your telephone switchboard and your current infrastructure doesn’t have to be thrown away immediately.

Funny! Skype is VoIP, is free, i can call other people who don’t have VoIP, i have no telephone switchboard, and the day Skype will offer Belgian SkypeIn numbers, i could throw away my current subscription to my telephone company and even the PSTN phones i have.

One of the partners of the magazine is Belgacom, the biggest and former public phone company of the country :-)


SMS: "ç" = pay twice!

Yesterday i did send an SMS to a German mobile. I was entitled to 160 characters! This should cost 0.102 €. I was confident in the length of the message, until I did send it: the message was cut into 3 messages and did cost me 0.306 €. I tried again to discover what was wrong, and this time a shorter message was cut in two pieces, costing me double the expected price. See the screenshots …

What happened?
Look at the screenshot of the SMS input window below, 38 characters are left.And when I type “ç” (a character used in Portuguese, French and some other languages) this does cost me a second SMS with only 11 characters left!

The same night the girl I did send the SMS to showed me the result on her mobile: they had arrived in reverse order! Hmmmmm … difficult to read!
I tried some other funny characters, and this is the result
ã – ç – û – ë – õ = dangerous characters
é – à – ù – ö – è = seem to be OK
Some characters are very expensive!
Skype 2.6 is definitely still “beta”!


Skype bewitched?

Weird, weird, weird …
See my previous post!

Today another strange phenomenon, see the blue curve in the green ellipse in the Skype Downloads graph!

Come on Skype, explain!!!!

But we reached another all times world record of concurrent users online: 7.807.694!

This screenshot was again taken from http://nyanyan.to/


Again plunging down?

Today again a dip in the number of users online just at or before daily “peak GMT time”. Weird! When will Skype explain this phenomenon? (Image captured from http://nyanyan.to).

See also my previous posts here and here.


210 million US$ in 2006

eBay published its quarterly results, and provided some details concerning the revenues of their “Communications” branch, therefore Skype. The 3 first quarters generated a net revenue of almost 130 millions US$.
The graph below shows the sequential purchase order numbers of Skype. In the 3 first quarters about 29.5 million orders were generated. This means (after a correction of 5 million for “strange jumps”, see below) a mean value per purchase order of 5.3 US$.
I guess (from the graph) that about 15 million new orders will be generated in the fourth quarter, what could correspond to 80 million US$ revenue. The yearly net revenue of Skype should therefore be around 210 million US$ by the end of the year.

Some comments on the orders:
  • Order numbers concern real purchases like SkypeOut minutes, SkypeIn subscriptions, Skype Voicemail, etc.
  • But also “no purchases” like vouchers, gifts (from Skype to some of its customers), allocations to Skype Group members*, cancelled or rejected purchases, balance expirations**, etc.
  • There have been in Quarter One two strange “brutal” jumps of 3 million and 2 million purchases “at once” (slightly visible on the graph). This is probably due to spambots.
  • Allocations to members of Skype Groups (with zero revenue) represent about 400 thousand purchase order numbers in the three first quarters. They also get a sequential number. You can find it when looking at the “Expenditure List” in your Administration Page of the Skype Account.
* allocations are transfers of Skype credit from one Skype account to another Skype account.
** when a Skype customer doesn’t place any SkypeOut calls during a period of 6 months his Skype credits are “erased”, being a net revenue for Skype.