Skype has announced that there have been more than 10 million downloads of Skype Extras since the Extras Manager in Skype™ 3.0 for Windows was launched in late December 2006. Extras are plug-ins written by independent third-party developers that let users expand Skype functionality and enrich their Skype conversations.
I asked Paul Amery, Director of the Skype Developer Program, to expand a bit on the announcement. Paul is scheduled to deliver a keynote address at the upcoming Communications Developer conference
, at 11am on Wednesday May 16.
The event takes place at the Hyatt Regency Santa Clara from May 14–17.
GG: 10 million third-party plug-ins in 4 months… That’s a pretty big number. How does this activity measure up with your earliest expectations for the program?
PA: We are really happy with the numbers. If you compare it with the average number of downloads from the Skype Software Gallery before we added the Extras Manager into Skype, we were seeing something like 25,000 downloads a month. Since mid-December 2006, when we launched the Extras Manager, we’ve seen about 2.5 million downloads a month. The math speaks for itself. Users really like Skype Extras. And we want to share that message with the developer community.
GG: Do you keep track of how many developers are currently creating Skype applications?
: There are currently more than 4,000 developers who regularly use the Skype Developer Zone or subscribe to our monthly Skype Developer Program Newsletter. Approximately 40 of these are ‘VIP’ developers and are listed in the Skype Partners Directory
The breadth of developers who work with Skype is extraordinary. They range from 15-year old techies who are coding in their bedrooms to CEOs with more than 30 years of experience developing software applications. The uniting factor is that they all love Skype, and constantly want us to enhance the platform to help them do more.
I was recently asked to describe the Skype Developer Program (SDP). I like to compare Skype to an amazing mansion, with the Skype Developer Program being the beautiful orchards and gardens around the house. We tend to the trees and plants for Skype so that they flower and bear fruit. Some might refer to this as our ‘ecosystem.’
GG: What are some of the top applications in terms of downloads?
: The most popular application overall is CrazyTalk for Skype
from Reallusion. This is a piece of software that allows users to use live avatars and emotions while on Skype video calls. Basically, it lip synchs a video avatar to your speech. It’s a lot of fun and has been downloaded more than 4 million times to date.
For professional users, the most popular Skype for Business Extra is the Pamela Call Recorder
, which makes it easy to record Skype calls.
GG: Do you have any personal favorites?
PA: I have three young boys, and that’s a bit like asking me which son in my favorite! I like many of the Extras for various reasons. Having said that, I particularly like Extras that make it easier for me keep in touch with my team across Europe. Examples include applications like Convenos Meeting Center and WebDialogs’ Unyte™. Personally, I find that desktop sharing really comes in handy. My eight-year-old son really likes playing Tic-Tac-Toe with me. I really encourage people to try them out and find their own favorites.
GG: You will be speaking at TMC’s Communications Developer conference next month. Any hints as to what topics you might address at the event?
PA: At TMC’s Communications Developer Conference in Santa Clara next month, I will be sharing my view of what makes a successful developer. I also plan to explain how to develop with Skype — from concept to cash. I’ve seen tens of thousands of third-party applications over the past seven years of involvement with various developer programs, but I think there are probably eight key factors to success. I will be sharing these with the attendees.
GG: Do you believe the Skype development community can benefit from attending events such as this?
PA: I do and very much appreciate the opportunity to speak at this very influential event. For those developers who can’t attend your conference, we will also be at the eBay Developers Conference 2007 in Boston from June 11–13. If they visit our home page, they will shortly see a new ‘Meet Us’ link which lists where the Skype Developer Program team will be. On May 10th, my team also plans to host a ‘Meet and Greet’ for beta testers, Skype lovers and developers at our office in London. We plan to conduct this event quarterly.
GG: Have you seen any exciting applications “on the drawing board” that might be available to the community of Skype users any time soon?
PA: During my keynote, I will be discussing some of these exciting new applications and channels.
GG: What are your goals regarding the program as we look ahead to the future?
PA: The Skype Developer Program’s goals are to create a win-win situation for the developers and Skype’s more than 196 million registered users around the world. We want to encourage the development of compelling applications and content for users, which will make users want to communicate and do even more with Skype. We want to create a rapid route to market for third-party applications, so that the developers can generate revenue streams. And we want to support innovation among the developers who are building complementary services that enhance the core Skype software.
I encourage developers and innovators to visit the Skype Developer Zone
in order to learn how to take advantage of this global opportunity to distribute their applications.