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Why Skype's 500 million download mark is a misleading number

Skype, and their p.r. apparatus, are now trumpeting the fact that they've now passed 500 million downloads.
Written by Russell Shaw, Contributor on
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Skype, and their p.r. apparatus, are now trumpeting the fact that they've now passed 500 million downloads. That many in 42 months. Now a six-downloads-per-second pace.

Taken at face value, that's quite impressive.

But if you come here regularly, you know that I don't do "face value" all that well.

When I heard that number, I immediately started to ask myself some questions.

How many downloads per customer? How many downloads for incremental, decimaled-all-up, edition upgrades? (Skype is good teasing you that way). You then download the new edition- presumably counted as part of the 500 million- and everything seems the same.

There are other examples of download inflation. 

How many downloads based on crashes, and efforts on the part of users to fix problems? How many downloads as users migrated to, or expanded to, new machines on which to run their Skype software?

Focus group of one: I have Skype and like it. But I've downloaded and installed Skype at least 15 times over the last three years. Maybe I'm not typical, but I'd bet I am not alone.

Am I?

[poll id=52]

 

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