For families with family members living far away, Skype was a great boon and solace - allowing connections with children and grandchildren which just wouldn't be possible otherwise unless you're as rich as Croesus.
Now I hope I'm totally wrong about this, but I bet the new owners of Skype, the private equity company Silver Lake, aren't going to stick to the existing price structure i.e. buckshee for Skype-to-Skype calls, a few pennies a minute for Skype-to-Non-Skype calls.
Silver Lake have paid $2 billion for a 65% stake in Skype. These financial gurus have valued Skype at $2.75 billion. What can they be thnking of?.
It's a pound to a penny they'll start putting up the rates and kill off this hugely valuable social service.
There was a revolutionary altruism about Skype, an air of making the world a better place. Google had the same air before it put a lot of conventional businessmen on its board and became just another corporate.
OK, companies, businessmen and profits are necessary, but there's still a place for revolutionary altruism.
TOMORROW MORNING: The Ten Best Camcorder Manufacturers