5 Fun Facts from Skype's IPO Filing

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Skype, the Internet communications company once owned by eBay, is going public, according to documents documents filed today with the Securities and Exchange Commission. A company's prospectus is a rich source of small datapoints about how a place operates. Here are five interesting tidbits we noted combing through the filing:

  • Skype has 560 million total users, 124 million monthly log-ins, and 8.1 million monthly paying users. (All numbers substantially up over 2009.)
  • In the first six months of 2010, Skype users made 95 billion minutes of voice and video calls. Over the same period, the company generated $406.2 million in revenue. Even though not everyone is paying, that still works out to about 2.3 cents per minute averaged over the entire user base.
  • 40 percent of Skype calls were video-to-video.
  • The average paying Skype user spends $96 a year.
  • Skype has to pay credit card companies back when users make fraudulent purchases with stolen credit cards. In 2009, that cost them $5.8 million. 

And though it's not really a factoid, I liked this confirmation that Europeans really do take the summer off:

Our net revenues exhibits seasonality because many of our users reduce their use of our products with the onset of good weather during the Northern Hemisphere's summer months and our users tend to use our products more in the fourth quarter during the holiday season resulting in weaker net revenue growth during the second and third quarter of the year. Furthermore, we experience significant spikes in the use of our products during significant world events, such as Christmas and the Chinese New Year, or regional events, such as the recent volcanic eruption in Iceland.
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Alexis C. Madrigal

Alexis Madrigal is the deputy editor of TheAtlantic.com. He's the author of Powering the Dream: The History and Promise of Green Technology. More

The New York Observer has called Madrigal "for all intents and purposes, the perfect modern reporter." He co-founded Longshot magazine, a high-speed media experiment that garnered attention from The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and the BBC. While at Wired.com, he built Wired Science into one of the most popular blogs in the world. The site was nominated for best magazine blog by the MPA and best science Web site in the 2009 Webby Awards. He also co-founded Haiti ReWired, a groundbreaking community dedicated to the discussion of technology, infrastructure, and the future of Haiti.

He's spoken at Stanford, CalTech, Berkeley, SXSW, E3, and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, and his writing was anthologized in Best Technology Writing 2010 (Yale University Press).

Madrigal is a visiting scholar at the University of California at Berkeley's Office for the History of Science and Technology. Born in Mexico City, he grew up in the exurbs north of Portland, Oregon, and now lives in Oakland.

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