About eighteen months ago I wrote a blog post about Skype as it approached 500 million downloads. They have continued at around a million a day, and now, nearly 500 days later we are coming up on the one billion mark. I predict at the current rate that the last 42 million downloads will happen in 37 days, so it will pass a billion around September 3rd.
The usual caveats apply, most of the downloads are version upgrades, but there are over 300 million different registered skype names, and concurrent user counts peak at 12 million most days.
At the time I got a nice mention from Skype Journal, and you can find good analysis of the Skype usage levels at Jean Mercier's Skype Numerology blog. As ever, you can track the actual numbers via an RSS feed that Skype provides, or just view them at this graph.
Why does this matter? It matters because this is the kind of critical mass that the rest of the Telco industry and VOIP startups are only dreaming of. I'm about to turn off my long distance and international phone plans and just have local calls on my home phone. The home phone I just ordered will redirect long distance and international calls over Skype, and make local calls on the land line. This will save me hundreds of dollars a year in telco service costs, so it pays for itself in less than six months. There is even a special offer on the hardware right now. I fully expect that in a few years time I will also be making the bulk of my mobile calls over Skype as well.
All I want from the Telco's is reliable unlimited raw bandwidth at a fixed low price, which is a terrifying prospect for the dinosaurs of this industry...