Skype gains 40 million users in three months

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Skype gains 40 million users in three months

eBay saved by service it is trying to offload.

Popular IP telephony service Skype appeared to go from strength to strength in the past three months, reporting revenue growth of 27 percent and gaining more than 40 million new users.

Skype owner eBay released its third-quarter earnings statement (PDF) on Wednesday, showing a profit decline of 29 per cent but a marginal six per cent revenue growth to US$2.24bn ($2.42bn), due largely to the success of Skype and PayPal.

Skype logged revenues of US$185.2m, a gain of US$2m from the last quarter, and now has 521 million subscribers, a rise of 41 percent over the period. PayPal revenue, meanwhile, grew 15 percent during the period to US$688.1m.

EBay is still in the process of trying to offload Skype. It has argued that selling Skype will allow it to focus on its two core growth opportunities of e-commerce and online payments, and bring more value to shareholders.

Last month, a number of US and European investors proposed the purchase of a 65 per cent stake in Skype for US$1.9bn.

However, eBay is currently embroiled in a legal battle with Skype's founders, which complicates any potential sale, and the case will not be heard until June 2010.

Joltid, the company set up by Skype founders Niklas Zennström and Janus Friis, still licenses the software that allows Skype to run its worldwide telephony system.

In other news, Skype said that it plans to increase its business customer base, and is testing a service that will integrate Skype with business telephony networks, Reuters reported.

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