September 29, 2005 03:59 ET

Skype Extends Leadership Position with New Must-Have Release; New Features Encourage Callers to Upgrade to Move Beyond the PC, Be More Sociable and Express Themselves in More Ways

LUXEMBOURG--(CCNMatthews - Sep 29, 2005) -

Skype, the Global Internet Communications pioneer which makes it possible for anyone to make free high-quality phone calls via the Internet to anyone worldwide, today extends its leadership position as the most innovative and fastest-growing Internet communications offering with the release of the latest version of its award-winning software. This announcement is significant both for Skype's existing callers who can now upgrade to new and powerful features and also for people new to Skype who can experience an even simpler way to start making phone calls for free.

The new Skype for Windows offers callers everything one would expect from an Internet phone and more, including increased mobility options, new ways for callers to personalise Skype with original ringtones, sounds and pictures, better than ever sound quality, as well as more ways to be sociable by making it easy to find and connect to their friends, family and colleagues online.

"Skype pioneered free Internet phone calls, and even with more than 56 million people already registered, we've recently seen our growth accelerate to over 170,000 new registrations a day," said Niklas Zennstrom, CEO and Co-founder of Skype. "We are passionate about really understanding what motivates people to want to make Internet communications a part of their everyday lives, and listening to our callers about what they want from Skype allows us to stay ahead of the game. Today, we are thrilled to be delivering on this promise by offering a new version of Skype which both new and existing callers will find adds powerful and innovative new features like call forwarding and personalization, as well as offering our best ever sound quality on our simplest product to install and use."

Skype recently embarked on a comprehensive global survey to deepen an understanding of how Internet communications is used by people around the world and what they expect from next-generation personal communications services. According to the independent study, Skype is used once or several times a day by 76% of its callers, far surpassing the usage levels of traditional IM-based voice calling services. Callers also recognized Skype's leadership in sound quality - 72% of Skype users consider call quality to be good to excellent. Skype callers are more international, with 85% communicating with people living abroad. Skype's broad base of early adopters are eager to embrace new features, with 79% interested or very interested in receiving calls from landlines, and 73% interested or very interested in adopting call forwarding, key innovations unique to Skype.

The new Skype for Windows Version 1.4, which was first available in beta in August, incorporates two new premium services requested by Skype callers, and fortifies Skype's role as a preferred complement to ordinary cell phones and landlines. It builds on Skype's already extensive product offering which allows people to instant message, set up group chats, make conference calls, transfer files, send and receive voicemails, call and be called from a traditional phone system, and access Skype over Wi-Fi for extremely low rates.

Skype's new Call Forwarding service will allow callers to forward incoming Skype calls to another Skype Name, or up to three landline or mobile numbers when they're away from Skype, at no cost to the caller. Anyone using Skype may forward their calls to another Skype Name free of charge, or forward to traditional phone numbers at low SkypeOut rates. 83% of beta testers who have tried Call Forwarding have found it easy to use.

Skype's new Personalise Skype features also allow callers to easily express themselves with original pictures, sounds and ringtones for as little as 1 euro ($1.20). This new feature opens up a new and exciting market for content providers looking to deliver great applications to Skype's global callers and is initially offered in partnership with American Greetings, Qpass and Wee World. The global ringtone market is forecast to grow to $5.2 billion in 2006, and ringtones now account for over 10% of the $32.3 billion worldwide music market (Arc Group).

The new version of Skype makes it even easier for callers to extend their social network. It's simple for callers to search Skype's Global Directory, and import personal contacts from Outlook directly into their buddy lists. With the Skype Toolbars, users can make one-click calls to numbers and Skype Names from Internet Explorer and Outlook, adding tremendous value to popular desktop applications. Advanced Skype buttons allow webmasters and bloggers to create links that instantly initiate Skype actions, such as conference calls and chats.

It takes less then 3 minutes for new callers to get started with Skype, even if they are not Internet-savvy. A friendly 'Getting Started Wizard' means it's easy to begin enjoying the cost and quality benefits of the new Skype, available immediately for download at

About Skype Technologies SA

Skype, the Global Internet Communications Company™, allows people everywhere to make free, unlimited, superior quality voice calls via its award-winning innovative peer-to-peer software for Windows, Linux, Mac OS X, and Pocket PC platforms. Skype is available in 27 languages and is the fastest growing

voice communications offering worldwide. Since its launch in August 2003, Skype has been downloaded more than 174 million times in 225 countries and territories. 56 million people are registered to use Skype's free services, with more than 3 million people using Skype simultaneously at any one time.

Skype earns revenue through its premium service offerings, and has a growing network of global affiliates, and a community of developers working with the Skype APIs. Skype Technologies SA is headquartered in Luxembourg and has offices in London and Estonia.

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