Skype has been downloaded over 500 million times worldwide, although the number of active registered users for its service is well below this figure.
Skype users can use the Skype client software to make free or cheap calls over the internet. Calls to other Skype users are free.
The 500 million download milestone has been reached in slightly over 42 months, counting from when Skype was first introduced in beta at the end of August 2003.
Skype, which was acquired by eBay, also supports video comms, conference calling and instant messaging.
The company claims that six people download the Skype client software every second. The number of active registered Skype users is 171 million, well below the number of downloads.
An increasing number of companies are now entering the market, with US-based Vonage one of Skype’s main rivals in the UK.
Comment on this article: firstname.lastname@example.org