David Kirkpatrick sees the story behind and beyond the Skype/Facebook integration:
Facebook co-founder Dustin Moskovitz used to rant against something he calls “representational identity”—associating people with numbers, for example, instead of their names. Why should I have to keep track of someone’s home number, cell number, work number, Skype address, email address, IM account, Twitter name, and all the other ways they have to label themselves? Why shouldn’t we instead be able to simply click on our friend’s name and connect to them? That is the breakthrough today’s Facebook-Skype announcement points toward, though it by no means gets us all the way there.
After today’s announcement, representatives of Skype gave Business Insider the news that the next move for the Skype-Facebook partnership will be to enable you to dial any offline phone number from inside Facebook. This again will make unnecessary the downloads of Skype software and setting up of accounts, which has been required up to now and which surely deterred many millions from trying this useful service. And here Skype will begin to see a financial benefit from its partnership with Facebook. While the new video chat feature is free and is not even branded “Skype,” it will cost money to dial a regular phone from inside Facebook, just as Skype today charges a few pennies a minute for dialing outside numbers using its regular service. Facebook will likely require users to pay with the internal Facebook currency it calls Credits, bolstering that product’s usefulness.
Kirkpatrick is careful to note that Facebook, Skype, Microsoft, and Nokia are now deeply in league, and ever more deeply embedded in one another’s products. If that doesn’t strike fear into the hearts of any Facebook competitor, who doesn’t want to see Facebook as the communications hub of the Internet (which it kind of already is) and the “offline” world, I don’t know what would.