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Skype and Communications

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?

Feel Free to Comment

  1. Microsoft bought Skype to be competative against Google’s GoogleTalk service. GoogleTalk’s user base is growing to match Skype’s user base. Even though Skype has been in the calling and video chat game longer than Google, that won’t allow it to charge a service fee and expect to be competitive. Microsoft surely knows this.

  2. They would be crazy to monetize Skype, too much competition from Google and Apple for similar products. Then again, stranger things have happened.

    I use Skype now and again, great for staying connected when travelling out of country or overseas.

    BTW, BCM, I finally moved into this century and got my own site up and running:


    Just thought I’d let you know in case you wanted to update your NCFBA blogroll. Thanks again for your support.

    Have a good weekend,

  3. I am quite upset about this. I love Skype. In fact we used it a ton on our trip to Asia. I really hope it stays a free service. If not, like SPF said, some better invent another free service. I am looking into Google voice to see if it will work as good overseas.

  4. I use it almost every week. I have family in Europe, Asia and Australia. Yes, it saves me money as I don’t pay a single cent for long distance calls now. Am I worried? Not all, Google talk is there

  5. I Skype for podcasting, but only because it’s a popular for podcasting so there’s a lot of mature tools and processes surrounding it.

    If Skype becomes a subscription service I’ll stop using it, absolutely. And I’m sure a lot of other podcaster – who do it entirely as a hobby – will too.

    My first choice as a replacement is Google Talk/Chat and/or Google Voice (if it comes to Canada).

  6. Mrs. SPF skyped here entire family in Montreal (actually Eastman) on Mother’s day. It was great for them all to get together to speak and see each other when they are 7 hours drive apart.

    I think if MSN tries to monetize Skype someone else will essentially duplicate the service and provide it for free.

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