Some might say it’s like comparing apples and oranges as one is a social network, and one is not, but it’s still interesting to see Facebook is not the biggest thing out there despite what that company might like to have you think.

Facebook has a big habit of going around reminding everyone that it has cracked the 400 million registered accounts benchmark. (they say “users”, and I say “registered accounts” because I know numerous people who have more than one account for reasons such as forgetting their original login information)  But over at Skype they might snicker at that number as the VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) service has bypassed 560 million accounts.

skype-logoGigaOm provided some stats that Skype gave out at the recent eComm Conference:

  • Skype added 39 million registered users in the fourth quarter to end the year with a total of 560 million.
  • The number of Skype-to-Skype call minutes totaled 36.1 billion in the final three months of 2009.
  • Skype users made more the 250 billion minutes worth of Skype-to-Skype calls from the time the service was launched through the end of 2009.
  • Skype in 2009 accounted for 12 percent of the world’s international calling minutes, a 50 percent increase over 2008 when it accounted for 8 percent of international calling, according to TeleGeography Research.
  • 36 percent of Skype-to-Skype calls as of the end of the fourth quarter included video — in other words, Skype is going to figure prominently in the video conferencing business, challenging more established players with its no-cost solution.

Again, like Facebook, there are people with multiple accounts, and there are also spammers, but those accounts get shut down pretty fast.

Skype and Facebook are very different creatures, but it’s interesting to see how large a company that provides an actually useful service can get bigger than one who’s apparent key reasons for existing are for you to share embarrassing photos of yourself and tend a virtual farm.  Skype has also not felt a need to try to weasel its way into every corner of the Web with questionable tools that track your movement from site-to-site, or manipulate your profile because you click a “Like” button somewhere.  Skype just exists.  If you choose to use it, great, but if you don’t, they aren’t in your face about it.

There is every chance that Facebook could surpass Skype  someday, and it probably will, but for now it is just kind of amusing the quiet, unassuming and actually useful company has 40 percent more accounts.

What say you?  What accounts for Skype’s massive number of accounts?