The True Depth of Skype's Popularity
Article by George Norman
On 12 Nov 2009
I bet you had a hunch that instant messaging (IM) and VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) client Skype is quite popular around the world. I mean, what’s not to like about a software application that lets you stay in touch with all your friends, an application that lets you make free audio and video calls? On top of that, what’s not to like about an application that is so easy to use that even someone who has never seen Skype before could pick up the basics in just a few minutes.

Getting back to the topic at hand, do you know how popular Skype is? The company has recently announced there are 20 million Skype users signed in at the same time. That’s a big number, no matter how you look at it. Perhaps not as big as the total number of registered Skype users: about 521 million. Skype representatives said this is an important milestone for Skype because it represents that number of people around the world that use Skype to stay in touch with one another.


“Right now, there are 20 million people around the world, saying hello (or bonjour, or hola, or 喂, or tere) to their parents across continents, having dinner with their spouses from hotel rooms across countries, and keeping an eye on their pets from across town. But big numbers are hard to get our heads around – what does 20 million actually mean? We can think about it in terms of the number of families kept closer together, or the number of businesses saving money and staying ahead of the competition. Right now. The number of new babies being shown off to adoring grandparents, or the number of romances being kept alive. Right now,” commented Skype’s Peter Parkes.

As a little trivia side note, in the 30 seconds or so it took you to read all the text above, the 20 million Skype users around the world made about 200 hours of Skype to landline or mobile phone calls and about 1,600 hours of Skype-to-Skype free calls.

Now let’s focus on some other companies and the figures they provided. So here goes:
- Opera Software announced late last month that there are 35 million Opera Mini users.
- Shazam announced last month that there are more than 50 million people around the world that use the company’s music discovery application.
- Facebook announced back in September that its user base grew to a whopping 300 million.

UPDATE (Friday 11.13.2009): Added details on the total number of registered Skype users. Thanks, Peter Parkes!

Tags: Skype
About the author: George Norman
George is a news editor.
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