Since launching four and half years ago, Skype users have talked to each other for 100 billion minutes, and that is just counting free Skype-to-Skype phone calls. Of course, many of those calls would never have been made if Skype didn’t exists, so you cannot count the entire 100 billion minutes as a loss for the phone companies. But a significant chunk of that has got to be eating away at phone company profits.
Skype’s owner, eBay, is not necessarily the winner here either. While Skype has been a boon for consumers, it’s eBay that is footing the bill. Even at the reduced $3.1 billion acquisition price after the write-down, eBay still ended up paying roughly 3 cents a minute for all of those calls. I think I pay less with Verizon.