Some of you may not have heard of Skype, but it actually is a fairly big player in the field of communications on devices (mostly PCs). It enables Video and Regular “phone calls” to other skype members (for free) or you can actually call “real” phones for a small fee.
My family has been using Skype to communicate when my kids are away at school, and it has saved all of us money on either:
- Long distance charges on land line calls
- Usage fees on cell phones
- Fairly good video codecs, so as long as the Internet connection is OK, really nifty Video phone capabilities (which we enjoy seeing what our kids look like this week).
Do I think it is the greatest thing since sliced bread? It is a good use of technology, and the fact that it can be effectively a free service makes it better, but now with Microsoft buying Skype, (for $8.5 Billion all cash (that is a big packet of money, usually this kind of transaction is mostly in stock)) things may change (maybe not in the short term, but most likely in the long term).
My guess would be that Microsoft will integrate the tool into their product suite, which could be good, but they may attempt to make it a subscription service (i.e. pay monthly), which could make it not as attractive to cheap folks like me.
Students use this tool a great deal, but my guess would be if the tool becomes more “commercial” (i.e. it will cost money) they will simply find the next cheap communication tool out there, and use that.
Do you Skype? Is it saving you a lot of money? Are you worried about this purchased?