Skype Journal Test

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Fall-Winter-Summer growth

Jean Mercier is the Skype Numerologist and a regular contributor to Skype Journal.

As usual after a Northern Hemisphere Summer, the growth of Skype users is again visible. Not that there is no growth in summer but

  • less people are working,
  • more people switch their computers off while they are in the garden, or
  • they are traveling and have less access to Internet.

Therefore, fewer users are online at the same time.

Those summers are very visible on the "million milestones" graph that I published last week. In all the past years, excluding the first year, the dots representing the "million milestones" are quite close to each other (see the brown left braces), except when there is a July-August period in the middle (see the red "summer" arrows).

So, what for 2008-2009? I would guess that Skype will as usual add two more "million dots' to its graph before July 2009 (see the Sky(pe) Blue extrapolated dots), going well over the 15 million people online. And I predict also that Skype will reach 16 million concurrent users somewhere around September 2009. But it is only a guess :-)

About growth speed

Each time that I pretend that the growth of Skype isn’t exponential, but linear or even slowing down, fellow blogger Hudson Barton tries to refute it. See his comment on my last post for instance (yes, aaytch, is Hudson himself)!

Perhaps I was a bit too fast and too rude to answer (I apologize for this), because indeed the last 12 months were much better, than the previous 12 months. But anyway, let me analyze the table above, to explain why I still feel I am right. The table shows the top or record concurrent users online at several dates in the past.

The third column is the mean daily (rounded) number of additional concurrent users online at “peak time” for a certain time span. For instance:

  • The last two weeks (before September 22), the mean increase was 35000 additional concurrent users online.
  • The last year it was 9800 additional concurrent users online.
  • And so on.

How do we predict the future? Based on the last two weeks (+35000)? Or on the last 6 months (only +5300!), or on the last year? We can’t predict the future of course, we only can make guesses.

Choosing periods smaller than a year is often wrong for predicting long term growth. Changes in speed in smaller periods can however teach us something about temporary effects (the success of the launch of new Skype features, or the seasonal “Northern Hemisphere summer” effect).

For the long term past growth, we the see that the 2007-2008 season (+9800 users/per day) was very much better than the previous season (+6500). Does this mean that the growth is much faster? Is Hudson right? Could be, but in my opinion, the season 2006-2007 (+6500) was a very bad one compared with the two previous ones (+8300 and +10000), and last year (+9800) was just catching up again.

Only the future will tell, and some signs are very promising: Asterisk, Client version 4.0, Skype for iPhone, perhaps even multiparty videoconferencing, …

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