Skype Performance Update: Interesting Statistics

Check out the statistics that arose out of last week’s panel discussion: Skype call information; Skype for TV – coming soon to a family room near you and the change in Skype’s employee per lawyer ratio over the past year.

My previous post, Skype: Evolution from “Wildly Popular and Deeply Troubled”, covered a recent panel discussion, held last week at the Fortune Brainstorm event, on the subject of the transition of Skype as it passed through three owners: eBay –> Silver Lake consortium –-> Microsoft. I highlighted several topics where three key players, including Skype CEO Tony Bates, gave their perspective on why various business decisions were made that resulted in these ownership changes.

But there were also some interesting statistics and other information re Skype’s ongoing operations that came out during the discussion:

  • Skype released five products over a six week period in June/July this year, more than had been released in the previous two years.
  • TonyBates.FortuneEvent.20Jul11It appears that, while Tony Bates was announced as CEO in early October 2010, he actually started becoming involved with Skype operations in August (an advantage of being a private company – you don’t have to announce key executive changes when they actually occur). This information came out during the discussion about the release date for the Skype for iPhone video calling upgrade .
  • Skype had over 7 million downloads of Skype for iPhone 3.0 with video calling on its December 30, 2010 release date.
  • When Tony joined Skype he found as his favorite statistic: “Five people who actually touched product and wrote code for every lawyer in the company.” Today that ratio is now 25:1 and rising, according to Tony’s comment. This explains why several issues have persisted over the years including:
    • the lack of Skype Online numbers for Canada (which could easily be resolved to address a Canadian regulatory issue),
    • the delay in releasing Skype for iPhone to Canadians due to an intellectual property issue
    • the tight credit policies such as the fact that a credit card can only be used with one Skype account. If I want to use a credit card with my wife’s Skype account, I need to use a different credit card.
    • the constant concern over U.S. regulatory issues as Skype rolls out a Skype for Business program in the U.S.
  • Skype expects to see “Monthly Active Users” (“MAU’s”) rise to over 200 million by year end from its current 170 million MAU’s in the last quarter.
  • Skype active users average over 100 minutes of engagement (in a Skype voice or video conversation) per month.
  • The average video call lasts 27 minutes and is rising; an interesting statistic that helps to confirm what Skype Chief Technology Strategist Jonathan Rosenberg pointed out in his “The Rise of Real Time Social Sharing” presentation at eComm America 2010.
  • Will Skype be in your family room soon? Skype for TV has already been embedded into over 50 million TV Skype-enabled TV sets (and BluRay players) worldwide, including high end models from Samsung, Panasonic, Sony, Sharp and Vizio.
  • In spite of the occasional service interruption, over 35% of Skype’s user base is small business that uses Skype as their primary communications service “with the fall-back that the cost piece is so compelling”.

Bottom Line: It’s a bit of a hodge-podge of information but it all contributes to a better understanding of not only how Skype is ending up as an autonomous business division of Microsoft but also what developments are happening on the business side that have contributed to the variety of new products and releases that have appeared over the past six weeks.

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About Jim Courtney

Bringing over thirty years' experience in the sales, marketing and management of cutting edge technology businesses.

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