Viber passes 200 million user threshold, launches free desktop service

Summary:Viber's free video-calling feature will put it in direct competition with Microsoft-backed Skype.

Mobile phone call and messaging app Viber has hit 200 million users and launched a desktop version of its service for Windows and Mac computers.

The milestone announcement made by Viber Media on Tuesday means the company has grown its user base by 60 million since the end of 2012 when it had 140 million customers. Viber says it is gaining 400,000 new customers every day. 

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Viber claims its customer base spans 193 countries but it is hoping to attract an even wider audience by making the service available in eight new languages, bringing it up to 27.

While the Viber mobile apps offer free online phone calls, text messages and picture sending on iOS, Android and other mobile platforms — in the same way that Whatsapp does — the desktop version will allow Viber users to make free video calls to each other. 

"People spend a substantial amount of time on their smartphones. However, a lot of that usage takes place at home or in the office, where they have laptops or desktops close by," Viber CEO Talmon Marco said in a statement on Tuesday.

The desktop version has been designed so that it integrates with the existing mobile versions of the app, enabling users to transfer calls with a single click, sync received and sent messages and delete conversations on any device they choose. 

But Viber still has a long way to go if it is to compete with Skype, which is reported to have more than 600 million users.

Topics: Apps, Microsoft, Mobility

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Sam is generally at his happiest with a new piece of technology in his hands or nailing down an exclusive story. In the past he's written for The Engineer and the Daily Mail, covering emerging technology in electronics, energy, defence, materials, aerospace, automotive and healthcare. These days, Sam is particularly interested in emerging... Full Bio

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