27 Million Simultaneous Users: Skype Exposes Real Potential of Video Calls

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Skype hit a record number of simultaneous users today, just a few days after announcing the acquisition of Qik at CES — and just a few weeks after launching a new mobile app that allows video calls. The voice and video chat operator, which typically sees about 25 million simultaneous users during peak hours, had more than 27 million users signed onto the service at the same time earlier today.

The new record comes as Skype has seen pretty fantastic growth in both voice and video calls of late. Last week, research firm Telegeography reported that Skype users racked up 102.5 billion call minutes over the past year, which means that it accounted for one out of five international call minutes made during that time.

The company is also seeing wide adoption of video chat, with it accounting for more than 40 percent of all calls made by Skype users. Skype just recently released a new app for the iPhone that allows users to make and receive video chat calls on the mobile device. That new app could help account for some of the growth in simultaneous users, particularly if new users leave it running in the background.

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Regardless of the reasons, Skype’s new record marks a dramatic recovery for the company, which was hit by more than 24 hours of downtime just a few weeks ago. That outage was the result of buggy Windows clients overloading certain supernodes that are part of the Skype network. In essence, after the holidays and the Consumer Electronics Show, Skype’s service is back and bigger than ever.

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