Yes! new release today!

27.09.2006 version (Skype for Windows)
At least i was partially right: a new release today.

I still believe that once they make the 2.6 beta version "official", that they will renumber it 3.0!

And also today:
27.09.2006 Skype for Linux BETA Update

Skype induced or not?

I had some chat discussion with Matthew, US citizen located in Germany, about the phenomenon that we could see yesterday: the dip in the concurrent users online, see my previous post. He pretends this is not "induced by Skype" but, that it is some kind of problem with SuperNodes

On last Saturday, September 23, there was also some strange “behaviour”: during some hours around 14 GMT. The number of downloads, as published by Skype, didn’t rise, see below.

This makes me think that Skype is doing something with its IT systems.

This screenshot is again taken from the Japanese nyanyan.to website.


Dip number two?

Some weeks ago, the day Skype reached 7 million concurrent users online, we noticed a strange and brutal dip in the number of users online, and this around or just before peak time.

Today a similar phenomenon occurred, also around peak time, being around 14h GMT:

This makes me think that our assumption that this was a Skype induced phenomenon (like resetting Skype owned Super Nodes or count servers) was indeed correct.

This graph was “captured” from the Japanese website nyanyan.to

The other dip some hours earlier on the chart is a “normal behaviour” dip!

I don’t think it is a good idea to do this around peak-time, unless it doesn’t affect the working of the Skype cloud!


The Crystal Ball

I pretended some posts back that i could guess quite well the next Skype for Windows release dates. Let me explain …
The next table - except for the red row - shows the past version numbers, release day and date, and the number of days between each release.
As you can see, since the beginning of July, releases were always on a Wednesday, with 7 or 14 days between each release!

Therefore, i pretend - see the red row in the table - that the next release of a new Windows Skype client will be next Wednesday, and i even make a Crystal Ball guess: the version number will be 3.0!

If i am twice right, i will change my profession, and will become a fortune-teller ;-)

Again: i have no insider information and could be completely wrong! In that case i will keep my present position as a management consultant! I hope that no Skype Staff will read this, so that they can’t alter the course of History!


Deleting a chat message

It happened that i did send a chat message to an offline person, and that i wanted to delete it afterwards, because it wasn’t relevant anymore, or because i wanted to alter the content. I didn’t know, until Ike told me some weeks ago, that an unsent chat message could be deleted. So, i guess i am not the only one who didn’t know this!

How you do it? Go to the “history tab” of your Skype client, right click the message you want to delete, and look at the screenshot below for the following steps!

This is another small advantage compared to e-mail, see also the post of Jaanus, the principal Skype Blogger here!

Don’t forget, that even if a person shows offline and “is in fact online” (yes, when he is cheating ;-) the message has been delivered and can’t be withdrawn anymore!


Forcing the viral growth???

Skype was – in the past – proud of its viral growth. But business is business, and they try to attract people by gifts and promotions, hoping to generate more revenue through SkypeOut, SkypIn and Skype certified products. The last two promotions in September were:
  1. Free SkypeOut for France in France
  2. September Giveaway for USA and Canada

For the time being this has been unsuccessful IMHO! See the graph below:

Even if MuppetMaster pretends downloads isn’t a measure of the growth of Skype (and i partially agree with this), the number of downloads should have shown some acceleration if these Skype Marketing campaigns mentioned above had been successful. Indeed, a bunch of new users downloading Skype should show a change in pattern in the download curve, as it was some months ago when they launched the free SkypeOut in Canada and the USA. It doesn’t: almost straight line growth since several months.

September Giveaway was targeting mainly students, and this (probably) proves again that the Skype Users are mainly adult professional users.

Skype Users seem to be also quite often small businesses. But French small business mainly have their customers in France (France is a big country), and phone calls inside France are not free but quite cheap. Belgian small business (as an example), because of the tiny size of the country, do more business abroad (in France for instance), therefore they are more interested in reducing their phone call bills.

So? Why trying to force Viral Growth? Let it grow the usual way, by improving mainly quality, reliability and services.

One of my new “Skype Customers” told me: Skype to Skype has a fantastic quality, but SkypeOut isn’t that good, but it is much cheaper indeed! She phones to her family in Algeria, and lives in Belgium! Improving quality will attract more Small Businesses!


New 2.6 beta released today

A new beta version of Skype was released today, see this link .

Only for experienced users, but i believe most of the major bugs were removed.

Next release of an update: September 20 and/or September 27!

And i bet once they release a non-beta version it will be renamed in Skype 3.0.

Believe me, i have no insider information and could be totally wrong. But i will explain why i say September 20 and/or September 27 in an upcoming blog, even if i was wrong!


Skype North-America despair

A few weeks ago, i made a ranking of the most lucky countries concerning the generosity of Skype, see Skype Marketing Victims.

In the meantime, France got free local SkypeOut, and came in third position concerning Skype gifts!

But Skype is definitely desperate about the USA and Canada: the richest region of the world is again entitled to new Skype gifts. During the month of September residents of the USA and Canada can get prizes through some kind of lottery, see Skype September Giveaway.

Or is it because they are so rich that they aren’t attracted by free calls?

What did I say? Canada … not completely! Excluded Québec. Probably Québec became independent in the last hours without anybody noticing it, or … perhaps i don’t understand marketing logic!


Holidays are bad …

… for Skype!

Last year, and this year again, some people contacted me in panic somewhere in July or August telling me that Skype growth was slowing down.
Indeed, see the graph below.The red circles (2) and (4) are clearly Northern Hemisphere summer slowdowns of 2005 and 2006: people are on vacation or in their gardens drinking a beer instead of sitting in front of their computers.

Circle (3) is the period between Christmas 2005 and New Year 2006! Skype Population is still mainly in Europe and the Americas: a lot of people are on Holiday or with the family.

This shows clearly that Skype is used mainly by the “working adults” class instead of kids: kids play more with the computer on week-end or during holiday, in my humble opinion.

Why didn’t we notice” such a slowdown in summer 2004 (1)?
Two possible reasons:
  1. my data isn’t accurate enough (too few data points)
  2. SkypeOut was launched in summer 2004 and has clearly boosted the growth of Skype
Everything is normal again, see the surge in users online now in the beginning of September. Last two weeks, from Wednesday to Wednesday there was an increase of about 100.000 “concurrent users online” at peak time, being 14h GMT. My wild guess is that we will reach 8 million users online on November 6!


No adware?

I just discovered this (see left side) after having installed the new beta released yesterday!
Birthdays was new since some weeks! Promotions is new since this last version! I left it on, and am curious what kind of promotions it will offer me!

No spyware, no adware?

I looked up the definition of adware on Wikipedia. What Skype is doing seems to be ok still!


I lost the Monopoly!

No, not that “old” money game! I remember i was good at it. This post goes about Skype numbers. Believe me!

I was wandering around at the share.skype.com part of the website at the third party soft- and hardware developments. There are Japanese entries there. Why is there “for God’s sake” a special Japanese part there? What is so special about Japanese soft- and hardware?

I anyway continued to click and reached the screen below. Would you have continued to scroll down unless you read Japanese? Usually i don’t, yesterday i did!
So i scrolled down. And then suddenly my sharp eye ;-) fell on the recognizable image on the right side! A real marvel! But i lost my monopoly. I thought the whole Skype World was depending on me for numbers and graphs, and be happy folks! You don’t have to ask me anymore: “Hey Jean, when do you publish an update of the numbers”.
I can therefore stop my blog today :-(


Free SkypeOut in USA-Canada

I published in June some comments in Skype Journal about the free SkypeOut campaign. This campaign started on May 15 and lasts till the end of the year, and is clearly intended to attract more users in the USA and Canada. In a private chat with Bill Campbell of Skype Journal, concerning the increased speed of downloads of the Skype client, I told him “i am still doubting if it will continue” and he responded “Me too. I think it is a flash in the pan

It was indeed, look at the graph below.The speed of downloads has gone back again to values ranging between 200 and 500 downloads per minute depending on the hour of the day. It had been as high as 1400 downloads per minute after launching the campaign!

There have been (my estimate from the graph) 20 million additional downloads! In normal times 1 out of three corresponds to a new username. Let us even suppose that it was 2 out of 3 during that small period, thus 13 million North Americans registered a username. From other public Skype staff comments and numbers that I could collect, I estimated that less then 1 out of 10 becomes a regular user! So my estimate is: less then 1 million new regular North Americans users were added to the Skype Cloud due to the free SkypeOut Minutes campaign!

Not a big deal!