Skype has announced their 4.0 beta release, with the typical amount of hype and intentionally misleading propaganda (see below for details). Unfortunately, what they DON'T say, of course, is what is STILL MISSING - multi-party video chat. They have been hinting that it will be available "real soon now" for well over a year. But every time a new release comes out, they are very quiet about it, and this release is no exception. So, those who need or want more than one-to-one video chat still need to go to ooVoo or SightSpeed. This is actually a good thing for the users anyway, as both of these companies have something even more important that Skype lacks - Customer Support.
As for the press release itself, it is obvious from the fact that every news site which ran it includes the exact same text that Skype is intentionally distributing the same old misleading information about having "309 million registered users". This number is, of course, patently ridiculous; it is the number of user accounts, not the number of registered users. It is vastly inflated by two factors:
- Once a Skype account is created, it can never be deleted. Ever. The only thing you can do is erase your personal information, and leave the account dormant. So the silly "309 million" number includes every Skype account that has ever been created, regardless of the actual status of the account. Does this constitute "registered users" in anyone's opinion other than Skype Marketing?
- A very large percentage of those accounts are created by the spammers and pornographers who infest Skype space. They create hundreds or thousands of new Skype accounts daily, use them for a short time, and then abandon them in order to avoid being blocked or traced. Detailed instructions on how to do this were posted not long ago by the Skype Cheerleading Squad (aka The Skype Journal), by the way. Do these accounts constitute "registered users"?
The real number of Skype "users" is probably somewhere around 10% of the ridiculous number that Skype Marketing insists on including in their misleading press releases. They are well aware of that, and it has been pointed out to them many times, most recently in the Skype Numerology Blog, for example. But that doesn't stop them, of course.