There are plenty of questions dogging Skype as the stories about its potential sale for crazy amounts of money make the rounds. Most of these are predicated on a few great unknowns -- how much revenue the company is actually generating, but more importantly, how many users it really has. Part of the Skhype mystique is that the company's more keen to pump how many times its software's been downloaded rather than how many actual users it has. When one of the company's investors popped off that he wouldn't consider offers for it of less than $1 billion, we noted that Skype only had 1.7 million paying users. The company claimed at the time it had 45 million total users, and we also noted it was unclear just how Skype was counting them. It's a little more clear today, as the company says it's passed 150 million downloads and 50 million "registered Skype Names". Note that it's not calling them users, it's just the number of names that have been registered. One thing is clear: the download number Skype puts at the top of its Web site is pretty meaningless if only a third of those downloads are converted into usernames. As far as actual users, it's somewhere between the 50 million registered names and the 1.7 million paying customers.
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