Skype's Niklas Zennstrom gave his keynote address to a jam-packed audience. He talked about the history of Skype, the present Skype (including the eBay acquisition), as well as the future of Skype. He listed some interesting statistics during his presentation that I thought I'd share.
First, he listed 61 million registered Skype users, but did add a disclaimer that this number hasn't been updated and is a bit higher. He also added that Skype is getting 170,000 new registrations per day. Niklas also pointed out that they have 200 hardware partners that are Skype certified and he made it a point to mention Linksys as a partner quite a few times. I guess Niklas enjoys the Linksys CIT-200 cordless Skype phone just as much I enjoy it since he must have mentioned Linksys at least 3-4 times.
In any case, he also pointed out that Skype has nearly 1,000 developers and over 10,000 affiliates. He also talked about opening up the Skype payment API which could then be used by third parties to sell customized ringtones and avatars.
Another area he focused on was Skype Groups, which is designed for enterprises looking to deploy Skype as a business solution. He mentioned that it features the ability for administrators to centrally administer SkypeOut credits, as well as administer SkypeIn numbers. Skype Groups is a step in the right direction in making Skype part of the solution and not part of the problem, considering Skype has often been a disruptive "uninvited guest" within the enterprise.
He cites some other interesting statistics that involved the beta Skype Groups users that are worth sharing.
- 50% of beta Skype Groups users have less than 10 employees
- 63% of companies are condsting business broad
- 70% of companies usng Skype Groups have bought a headset
- 63% use “water cooler” feature. (chat?)
- 45% use conferencing feature
- 37% use file transfer feature
- 70%? have SkypeIn numbers on their business cards (the % may have been lower, he switched slides before I could write down the nujmber)
Another other interesting tidbit is he mentioned that soon a Skype toolbar for Firefox will lbe available. This will allow you to dial phone numbers on a webpage since they will automatically become links you can call. This feature is currently available on Internet Explorer via the IE Skype Toolbar.
Here's some quote tidbits from my notes:
"Let me explain this transaction with eBay. We wanted to create the worlds largest online communications company. We needed to be integrated with a large company to grow faster, create the ecosystem faster. Ebay was definitely the best company for us for several different reasons. For one, there are common philosophies between Skype and eBay. We’re both communities."
"One of the challenges for Skype is to get people to pay for services. By integrated Skype with Paypal (owned by eBay) there is a level of trust for online payment."
As to what affect the eBay acquisition will have on the Skype corporate culture and management, Niklas commented, "Skype will remain an independent company within eBay. Same organization, same management. Myself and Janus will be here for several years. The brand with stay the same. You can count on Skype being around for the foreseeable future."
An audience member asked, "How will you be using eBay to drive Skype adoption?"
Niklas responded, "We are kinda under-represented in the U.S. By integrating Skype into eBay we can reach more users. We can integrate with the buy/sell process. For example a complicated product like a car, the buyer may want to speak to the seller. You can click on a Skype button and talk to that seller."
He also pointed out that they have opened up a Web API to be able to publish Skype presence. Relatedly, with regards to integrating with other IM clients he responded that they have not announced any plans to do that at this moment.
Well, the exhibit hall opens in just a few hours, so I'll report back with any interesting news.