I have to say, modern technology is pretty great. The iPad, the DVR, the online ordering for Chipotle all make my life that much better. On the top of the list is Skype, the Internet service that allows you to video chat from one computer to another computer, no matter where you are in the world, for free. FREE. As in Doesn't Cost Squat. But then, last week, news broke that Microsoft was buying Skype. For $8.5 billion buckaroos.
The first thing I thought? Dang, that's a lot of money. The second thing? Dang, they better not screw it up. My kid's relationships with her grandparents are on the line here, folks. This is serious guns. Not many details have surfaced as to what this merger will mean to us regular Skypers, but I'm worried about 5 main things.
1. They will start to charge money. We basically use it to video chat with the grandparents every Sunday night. It's an amazing way for Meemaw and Pappy in California to see how she's growing. It's fabu for Mumma and Pappa in Virginia to ask her about her newest stuffed cat. If they start to charge money, that bonding time may not always be in our budget, let alone the fixed retirement budgets of our parents. Depriving my kid of a bonding experience with her grandparents to make some bucks? Not cool, Microsoft.
2. They will monkey with it. Yes, "monkey" is a technical term for changing up something that I already know how to use to the point that I will no longer know how to use it. If they start changing how it works, how we log on, what little doo-hickey I click on, it may get to be too tough to do. Let's not even discuss how my mom, who just now figured out how to turn on the computer without my dad around, will be able to cope with any huge change.
3. They won't let us use it anymore. We are a Mac family. Don't know if you have heard, but Mac products and Microsoft products don't always get along. If the new owners create Microsoft-only Skype software, we may be screwed.
4. They will just let it fade away. Things like Skype need constant updating, constant upgrading. At Microsoft, they may get too busy with other products or other services to maintain Skype as it should be. Which means people will stop using it, which means it won't be as attractive ... and Microsoft head honchos will just let it die a slow death. Meanwhile, we will be suffering with crappy video chats until we'll get too frustrated and pull the plug.
5. They will change its name. Like TiVo ("I TiVoed the Lost finale") or Facebook ("Facebook me! I need those party details!"), Skype has become more than a thing -- it's a verb. I call up my parents and ask, "When do you want to Skype?" If they change the name to Microsoft VideoHSM or something ridiculous, it will just be really annoying ... and we will all still call it Skype anyway.
Do you Skype?
Image via Jhon Alexander Calderon Sanmartin/Flickr