Get free worldwide Skype calls for a month

That's the good news. The bad news is that the offer is good only for existing Skype customers. What the heck, Microsoft?

Yep, free calls for a month! But only if you're already a Skype user.

Microsoft sure does some boneheaded things sometimes.

For example, on the surface, a free month of worldwide calls on Skype sounds like a great deal. You can call family overseas without spending a small fortune, or call anyone from your smartphone without burning through your monthly minute allotment.

But here's the rub: "Offer available only to existing Skype users who have been registered with Skype more than 29 days."

Hey, Microsoft, this is just what I remember from Marketing 101, but usually the idea behind promotions like this is to attract new customers. It's not to say, "Sorry you weren't smart enough to sign up for Skype a month ago. No soup for you!"

Of course, if you do indeed qualify, huzzah! Free calls for a month! You have until tomorrow, November 15, to claim that month -- provided you "provide valid payment details" (i.e. a credit card). I know from recent experience that people hate giving out this information for something that's free, but Skype is, after all, a subscription service. And you'll have to cancel your subscription within 27 (!) days of the start date to avoid getting billed for next month.

All this is to say, be sure to read all the fine print before signing up.

Make no mistake, I love a good freebie. And free Skype is a wonderful thing. I just think it's borderline insulting that Microsoft won't let new customers experience that wonderful thing for themselves. It's a head-scratcher, to be sure.

Your thoughts on this? Am I being too harsh on Microsoft? Do most people already have a Skype account anyway, whether they use it or not? Let me know if you share my righteous indignation -- or just plan to gobble up that sweet, sweet month of free calls.

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