Is that the end for the only reason to have Skype installed over (say) Windows Live Messenger or any other VoIP phone solution?

Excerpt from New York Times Article:
Skype’s Free Phone Call Plan Will Soon Have Annual Fee

SAN FRANCISCO, Dec. 12 — Skype, the Internet calling service owned by eBay, said Tuesday that as of Jan. 1 it would begin charging $30 a year for unlimited calls to landline and mobile phones within the United States and Canada. Those calls had been free since last spring.

I guess if you've got a lot of contacts in Skype or a stack of credit in the system already then that's a good reason to stick with it. If you use SkypeIn (as I do) that's also another reason to stick with them (it means folks in Australia can call me for the cost of a local call).

If you're an infrequent user and use it for IM or making one or two interstate calls a year (or even month) then the $30 may just be a little too much... thought if the transaction is handled through PayPal most people probably won't notice it for the convenience it brings.

I wonder if this was eBay's gameplan all along... and how long at $30 a customer it's going to take to recoup their investment ;)