Skype is down (yes again!)

In August 2006, moments after reaching 7 million concurrent users online for the first time in its history, the Skype cloud got frozen, see my post “Frozen Skype Cloud”, and some more comments in September of the same year.

Well, it seems we have a similar problem today December 22: I could not log in, and the problem isn’t on my side: the concurrent users online are reaching levels of only 5 million users online according to the erratic Skype RSS feeds (5.138.992 at 18:40 GMT), and below 9 million according to the nice Nyanyan graphs, while it should be way above 20 million at this time of the day.

Skype servers down? Skype supernodes down? And why? The Skype blog isn’t accessible, the Skype website seems to be OK, the Skype forum seems to be unavailable, the Skype RSS Feeds gives sometimes the “cannot locate the Internet server or proxy server error”, etc.

And by the way, the Skype RSS feeds don’t give amount of downloads anymore, and this since ages!

So, what happens Skype?

Skype is down (again!)

I'll publish more in the next minutes!


How Skype kills part of Fring and Nimbuzz

I also dared to show my disagreement with the less than popular measure from Skype against Fring and Nimbuzz, but Jörg alias Nafcom made a really good analysis about the why's and How's, read here: Nafcom's Crap Blog!: Bad decisions by previous heros in the industry cause people hitting on the forehead: Skype.

No, really not good for the reputation of Skype!


25 million

25 million people online last Monday, 28 days after the previous milestone. Nice result, still growth of concurrent Skype users online, and the 5th milestone this year. The last months were - in my opinion – deceiving but there still is growth.

In 2009 we crossed 6 times a million milestone.

I don’t think that we will add another million before the end of the year, because there is every year a slowdown of users online in that period, but … who knows.


Skype growth and blow :-(

Last week October 25, finally, Skype passed another million « concurrent users online » milestone, and reached a peak above 24 million.

Hurrah? Not really! If we forget the first year (2003-2004) this is the second longest period between million milestones: 231 days to go from 23 to 24 million! The last time was in March, after only 49 days, and the previous one was January with only one week between a million.
It looks like competition of Google, Apple and cheaper prices of telephone companies is slowing down the growth of Skype.

Is this the reason that they “killed” two third party developers?
Read about this in Skype Journal: Skype Fring’d Nimbuzz: Another blow to Skype’s developer program.

In the past they killed video add-on developers (Spontania and vSkype), by launching their own video call feature. And they also stole the “birthday warning” idea from other add-on developers, among them the fantastic Pamela Skype toolbox. If I were a developer, I wouldn’t trust Skype anymore!

Where are you going, Skype?


Skype and impaired hearing

My father died 2 years ago. He was 80, and was the technology man at home, and e-mailed and googled for my mother.

My mother, 76 now, had to learn to do it! First e-mail and browsing. But she doesn’t hear very well …

My oldest son Stefan, and also her oldest grand-child, moved from Belgium to Brasil and is looking for a job there.

My mother therefore decided to learn how to use Skype, and she bought a webcam.

But, surprisingly, when she needs to call me, she also uses Skype instead of her cell phone or landline. No, not because it is free, but, because of the webcam and her impaired hearing.

Her explanation is: she understands better with Skype and webcam because she sees the movement of the lips of the person.

My explanation: the sound quality is often much better.

Probably both factors play a role in her perception of "better understanding".

Nice side effect of Skype!


Geographical numbers

Why Skype looks at the USA separately, and for the rest looks at regions, not even continents, is quite funny for a “theoretically” European company. But finally they unveil something about the geographical spread of Skype users.

The first graph is the geographical distribution of Skype users. EMEA means Europe – Middle East – Africa. Interesting to see that EMEA still takes the lead compared to ALL Americas (57% compared to 27%). I would even say: Europe takes the lead in the number of Skype users, because the number of Africa and Middle-East users is probably quite smaller compared to European users. Well, historically, Skype started in Europe, and cross border phone calls are still expensive in Europe. Therefore Skype is beneficial for individual users.

The second graph is the number of Skype users compared to total internet users of the mentioned regions. Here again, if I suppose that EMEA is mainly Europe, it looks like Skype can still push its growth in the Americas and Asia. 16% of EMEA Internet users have Skype according to the data provided by Skype (therefore probably 20% or more in only Europe), while the USA scores only 9%. Again, I think that Skype is much more interesting to use in Europe than in the USA, because of the small countries, some State “quasi” monopolies in telecommunication, and therefore high international communication costs. Skype is therefore a fantastic cost cutter. Probably the USA and other big American countries don’t feel that need as much as we Europeans do!

And concerning Asia and Africa: there is still growth ahead for Skype, if these continents continue to promote the internet penetration!


Waw, improved numbers!

Skype announced yesterday that it filed a registration statement for an Initial Public Offering or IPO.
But, it also had to communicate some numbers, and I copy some concerning the first half of 2010:
  • 95 billion calling minutes over Skype
  • approximately 40% of which were video
  • $ 13.1 million net income
  • 87% of net revenues were generated by SkypeOut
  • 8.1 million paying users
But more astonishingly, they also mentioned this :
  • We have 124 million connected users
Why does this surprise me? Well, until some weeks ago they claimed to have more than half a billion users (560 million), even my Flemish Financial Newspaper still used that number today!
And now they admit that this was an “overstatement” (their words)! That’s what I always shouted out very loudly on this blog! Even the 124 million is probably an overstatement, because some people use several accounts (for instance some scammers and myself), but it is much closer to the reality.
With 23 million users online at peak time, the 124 million users is “credible”: indeed, quite a lot of users have their computers switched off, or do not run the Skype client permanently, therefore the numbers of concurrent people online that you see in your Skype client is an understatement of the real numbers of users.

But, good, Skype will (have to) publish more numbers than the previous months! And I can revive my blog!


Breaking the promise?

In the past, Skype always claimed that "Skype to Skype calls will always be free".

Well, Skype doesn’t keep its promises anymore. With the release of the 2.0 iPhone Skype app you can read the following statement:

"What’s New in Version 2.0.0?
Call using your 3G connection. Skype-to-Skype calls on 3G are free until the end of 2010, after which there will be a small monthly fee."

What next?


1 billion users soon?

Some days ago I solved for a colleague a small “Skype microphone problem”, and I discovered something funny. He possesses 4 usernames, because each time he installed Skype on a new computer, Skype asks him to create a new account. He wasn’t aware and it is indeed not always evident, that you can use your old account (if you still remember the password!).

Therefore, is my colleague equivalent to “4 active users”, 4 users, or 4 user accounts? Skype usually uses the term “user” and sometimes “registered user”. Both definitions are of course misleading, as I explained several times in the past here and here and here.

Anyway, Skype continues to claim that they have astronomical high numbers of users, as in the following statement: Skype expects 1 billion users by 2015 of May 21 in boston.com.

What interested me more in that article, was that I finally got the yearly revenue number of 2009: 716 million US$. When we look at the graph below, the growth seems to have been “as expected”.Since the demerger of Skype from eBay, financial reporting became very scarce, unless I didn’t find the right sources yet. I hope they will start to communicate again in a more decent way.


The fastest million ever

Yesterday Skype reached another million milestone: 22 million concurrent users online. There was never such a short time span between two million milestones! Only 7 days!
Therefore this is two records at once!

At the same time several bloggers and web papers reported the recent numbers of TeleGeography: “Skype traffic increases at astonishing pace”;

Astonishing, and still, not really surprising: Skype to Skype calls are free and the quality of the calls is superb, video included!


Again misleading numbers!

From BusinessWeek, today:
Skype has more than 520 million users and is the largest provider of international calling, accounting for 12 percent of cross-border voice traffic, according to Washington-based research firm Telegeography. Skype has said it’s on schedule to generate $1 billion in sales in 2011.

If the number of users is true, this would mean that one out of 13 inhabitants of this planet is using Skype! As i already said before, this is complete nonsense. If Skype continues to grow, soon they will have more users then people on this World (grin).

What about dead Skype users, users who have multiple accounts (for various reasons going from scamming to honest reasons), users who abandoned Skype, etc. etc. ?????

And I will always continue to mention those Skype lies, every time I discover them!

By the way, congratulations to the new Chairman of Skype. I hope mister Miles Flint will read this, and ask the Skype Management to publish honest numbers!


21 million concurrent users online

Right now, 18h55 GMT+2 there are about 21,200,000 users online.

But it was already yesterday January 11 that the 21 million milestone was reached.

Well, the growth is going on!


Skype RSS feeds down

Is this due to the new management of Skype after departing (partially) from eBay?

The RSS feeds concerning number of users online and the number of downloads got stuck on November 30!

I hope the new management will improve the information they provide to the public, and will communicate some "real numbers" concerning the "active users".

Of course, and I hope this doesn't change, the number of concurrent users onlmine is still visible in the Skype client, and right now (15h30 GMT+2, Sunday January 10) it was: