Skype began six years ago and just two years later, it was bought up by EBay for nearly three billion dollars. The service allows members to make free calls to each other using the Internet, and the company is now gradually expanding its stable of services.

This week, tongues were wagging when iPhone launched a free application for Skype; Blackberry said it will have an application in a couple of months. The two smart phone makers join Nokia, Windows Mobile and Google Android phones, which all already offer Skype.

Now, don’t start jumping for joy, the only country where the iPhone won’t have Skype is good old Canada, while the BlackBerry will only carry the IM and take incoming calls from other Skype users.

Skype has become one of the fastest growing firms around. With some 405 million users worldwide, Skype is starting to make significant money and its team thinks there is lot more to be had, Skype CEO Josh Silverman said earlier this month in a conference call with market analysts.

Most mobile operators have avoided hooking up with Skype, fearing a revenue loss as users make free calls. CEO Josh Silverman said those companies that are offering Skype are seeing revenues rise as consumers use other services. Skype, which is based in Luxembourg, says one of its key markets to tackle next is mobile phones in the United States, while strategically moving away from the business customer to the general consumer. Skype scored a marketing coup by having Oprah use Skype video calls as part of her daily talk show. If Oprah can sell millions of anything by plugging it, watch out for Skype’s growth.

And if all this is not enough change for you, the Convergence Consulting Group reported this week that a lot more Canadians are going to be giving up hardwired phone at home and going entirely mobile. They predict the user rate will grow from 7.5 per cent this year to nine per cent in 2011. It’s estimated that over 20 per cent of people now go without a landline phone at home.

Add into all this the new mobile phone operators that will start to power up this year, and consumers may finally see a much more competitive phone market in Canada.

Website of the week:, a web browser for kids with 1.5 million pre-approved sites geared to kids.

This Sunday, one of the stories on TECH NOW will be a look at Amberwood animation of Ottawa and a 3-D deal.

Be sure to watch Tech Now this Sunday as part of the CTV NEWS at 6 p.m.;

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