Services & Software

Skype beware, Viber flies past 200M users, lands on desktop

The popular messaging app now lets people make free calls and send texts from a PC or Mac.

Screenshot/Jennifer Van Grove

Add Viber to the list of insanely popular messaging services that have more than 200 million users.

The 2-year-old mobile messaging and VoIP service, developed by Viber Media, announced the new stat Tuesday, saying that it has 200 million members spread across 193 countries. The company also revealed Viber Desktop for free calling and messaging on PCs and Macs.

Viber, which specializes in mobile apps for iOS, Android, and most other operating systems, lets people use their mobile numbers in place of usernames and allows for free calls and multimedia messages over cellular or Wi-Fi connections. Viber Desktop carries the once mobile-only experience over to PCs and Macs, and introduces desktop-to-desktop video calls.

The service's iOS and Android apps were also refreshed Tuesday to allow for a hiccup-free experience when switching between mobile and desktop. The redesigned apps also come with video messages, additional stickers, and support for more languages. Viber now supports 27 languages in total.

Viber joins Facebook, WhatsApp, Kik, and others in disrupting the messaging market with over-the-top offerings that eat into carrier profits. WhatsApp suggested last month that it was beyond the 200 million user threshold.

Viber, now with a striking presence on the desktop, also looks like a formidable challenger to more entrenched VoIP calling providers such as Microsoft-owned Skype, which has more than 280 million users.