Skype is Less Than 20% the Size of Facebook

April 22, 2013

Guess what? Skype is WAY smaller than Facebook – and getting even smaller every day.

Facebook is larger than Skype

I have been delving into it in the past – how VoIP OTT vendors stand to lose the most because of WebRTC – and how the reason for it is going to be social networks. I even did a comparison between Skype and Facebook.

This week, two separate things happened that strengthen the difference between these two players, and shows just how much a company like Skype is vulnerable – not from the likes of Viber but from the likes of Facebook.

1. Skype reports 2 billion minutes a day

The web was full of it. Skype comes out with a nice infographic and people start congratulating it.

Skype Infographic

Nick Summers on The Next Web calls it “a colossal figure“. Jim Courtney on Voice on the Web suggests that “it’s bound to continue the growth“.

Guess what? If it is billions of minutes that interest you, then you might want to know that over a year ago, Facebook had 10.5 billion minutes a day – and that doesn’t include mobile.

Where does that place Skype? At less than 20% the size of Facebook when it comes to interactions.

2. Facebook Home

And if mobile is the final frontier these days (not including Glass or Watch), then Facebook Home is the enterprise going boldly where no other OTT has gone before – into the front and center of the smartphone.

Natasha Lomas says it best on TechCrunch, where she analyses the winners and losers of Facebook Home:

The companies Facebook is seeking to move against here are, first and foremost, the free messaging apps such as Line which have been creeping into its social networking back yard.

Skype isn’t a casualty. Yet.

Remember that Facebook is already delving into the realm of mobile VoIP – the moment they stitch that into Facebook Home – will users be in any need of launching Skype to make their calls?

It is unfair to compare Skype’s numbers and size against that of Facebook. This is apples to oranges – Facebook provides a lot of other types of interactions, unrelated to VoIP – and yes – Skype probably does have more voice and video minutes than Facebook – but will there be a place for pure VoIP players, or will social networks (hint: Facebook) find a way to make their user experience so compelling we won’t even remember we used a VoIP app (hint: Skype)?

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  1. It appears from the reference to Facebook’s numbers, they are counting time spent doing any activity on Facebook (Time spent on the site)

    The Skype number is simply the time spent on voice or video conversations. Making Skype calls is not “Time spent on a site”. And, yet, I would say that over 80% of Skype activity is chat-based. They just don’t (or aren’t able to) count that in minutes, especially given chat’s asynchronous nature.

    Apples and oranges, I fear….

    1. Jim,

      The issue here is the fact that people interact with each other more through Facebook, and switching/adding to these interactions voice and video doesn’t seem hard to achieve. It means that Skype is vulnerable.

      The fact that Facebook are moving towards becoming the center of our lives, through trials like Facebook Home (which will add VoIP in due time), means that single-feature vendors like Skype are going to have a hard time maintaining their leadership and stickiness with users.

      1. Jim,
        First Facebook had a deal with Skype in incorperating it’s product into both of their products. What i agree with is that Facebook has the potential to wipe out Skype if they wanted, but their history so far have showed no signs of evolving beyond just a text-driven website unlike say Google plus has introduced Hangouts — a predominantly video based application. I would think that through Hangouts or Google Voice, and apps like Viber, Skype is at danger, but not from Facebook.

        1. David,

          Facebook have actually made the first step by adding mobile VoIP to their iOS and Android apps and made it available in the US and UK. If this succeed, expect to see it introduced worldwide, added to the desktop and enhanced with video.

  2. how will businesses benefit from webrtc? do you see something similar for linked-in as you see for facebook? will security and qos concerns keep businesses from adopting?

    1. Barry,

      They are benefitting already – check out what Vacasa Rentals is doing with it:

      LinkedIn and Facebook can both use it as communication means in their respective networks – so can Skype for that matter. Security is engraned into the whole way of thinking of WebRTC and QoS is as good as it gets for any VoIP solution.

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