It may not take long to get to 1000 by just uploading screenshots, but the person uploading them still has to put in some effort sourcing and uploading them. It's certainly better than letting new users edit anything right off the bat.
$50 a year isn't too bad, but unfortunately it's closer to $80 in the UK and that's for MUCH LESS content than the US receives.
I dunno what you mean by horrible? Perhaps the lack of standardised voice across all games, sure, that's annoying. No cross-game invites, again quite annoying, but I'm sure that will be implemented at some point. As for the actual experience of playing the game across the internet against others, well it's exactly the same as it's the users who host the majority of games not Microsoft. In some games such as Battlefield: Bad Company EA host the servers on both platforms and the majority of Sony's first party titles have dedicated servers as well, I don't see Microsoft hosting game servers for their first party titles.
To answer the question of the OP, I don't think the fee will disappear totally yet, but I think we may see some sort of price cut once Sony add more features to their service. I feel in the next generation of consoles they may need to drop the fee though as Sony wont repeat the same mistake they made this generation when it comes to their online platform.