Om Malik writes about the commodisation of voice and its long-term impact:
The evolution of newer thin clients that fit into the emerging economy lifestyles will also start to use voice for free. As a word of caution, it is not going to be today, or tomorrow or even two years from now. This is a long drawn out process, that should take somewhere between five to ten years. But like a big lumbering boxer, who has taken many a few punches, its going to slowly slide before hitting the deck. There are a handful of reasons for that. If you took into account the current user patterns, no one except Skype is getting meaningful voice traffic. (Thats because Skype is viewed as a free voice service with IM features, and not the other way around.) However, as many of the younger users start to get comfortable with Voice over IM, the voice traffic over IM networks is going to increase. Microsofts XBox Live, where trash-talking over the network using headsets while playing Halo (and/or other games) has gone through a similar slow-but-steady growth curve. I think we are going to see similar adoption and usage patterns for the Voice-over-IM services.