All Things Digital has reported that Facebook and Skype will announce a "significant and long-ranging partnership." If the report is true, Facebook users would "be able to send SMS messages and call each other using Skype," while Skype users would "gain access to Facebook Connect, the social networking site's messaging service." The two companies both have giant user bases, with Facebook boasting 500 million users, and Luxembourg-based Skype claiming 560 million registered accounts. What does their looming partnership mean for consumers — and for the future of communication?
Customers will flee phone companies: The integration "will almost certainly encourage the members of Facebook to turn to Skype for voice and perhaps data service," says Douglas A. McIntryre at 24/7 Wall Street. The majority of Facebook users are young, and "not tethered to the voice and data communications services of the past." And with phone companies set to introduce ever more expensive "tiered pricing," for cellphones, expect "a wave of customer defections" once Facebook and Skype join forces.
"Facebook, Skype, and the end of the phone company"
It'll help both brands: "Both Facebook and Skype will likely benefit from this partnership," says Sarah Jacobsson Purewal at PC World. The affiliation will mean Facebook can add to its "repertoire of features," but it will also also boost the social network's presence around the world, since Skype is "rife with international users." Skype, meanwhile, "could certainly benefit from Facebook's extensive and thorough list of users' contacts."
"Facebook, Skype poised to enter partnership"
Facebook is becoming scarily ubiquitous: The Skype partnership is all part of "Facebook's campaign to make anything you do online, even the stuff people used to do just fine without Facebook, into a Facebook activity," says Tom Scocca at Slate. This development may be "good news for law-enforcement officials," who already "want to make it easier to wiretap Skype phone calls;" — with privacy-averse Facebook in the mix, they may not have a hard time doing so.
"Will Mark Zuckerberg violate your Skype privacy before the Feds can?"
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- This is what happens when Republicans actually enact their radical agenda
- How I dug myself out of debt — and stayed that way
- Russia is stealthily threatening America with nuclear war
- 6 things the happiest families all have in common
- 43 TV shows to watch in 2014
- The science of sex: 4 harsh truths about dating and mating
- 13 Urban Outfitters controversies
- If Scotland leaves the union, is Northern Ireland next?
- Will the Higgs Boson destroy the universe in a cosmic death bubble?
- Your 2-year-old doesn't need to go to school
Subscribe to the Week