Microsoft revealed this week that it is retiring Skype Wi-Fi as of March 31. But there’s no word yet on its replacement, Microsoft Wi-Fi, which is part of Windows 10.
“From March 31, 2017, Skype Wi-Fi will no longer be available,” a notice on Microsoft’s Skype support explains. “You won’t be able to download the Skype Wi-Fi application, and if you still have Skype Wi-Fi installed after March 31st, the application will no longer be able to find and use hotspots.”
If you’re not familiar, Skype Wi-Fi is one of the more annoying and unnecessary features in Skype. Of course, it was originally designed to make it easier—and potentially less expensive and safer—to connect to public Wi-Fi hotspots. It never achieved any of that, in my experience.
So, obviously, there are questions.
First up: Why is Microsoft discontinuing this feature?
According to the company, it is “retiring Skype Wi-Fi globally so we can better focus our efforts on bringing you the best possible experience through our core Skype features.” Which is of course a non-answer. I would have previously said that Microsoft is retiring this because they’re building identical functionality into Windows, as Microsoft Wi-Fi. But that brings me to question number two:
Is Microsoft also discontinuing Microsoft Wi-Fi?
This feature is still available in the latest Windows 10 Insider Preview build—in fact, Microsoft also offers a version of this service for pay-as-you-go cellular data networks. But if you visit the Microsoft Wi-Fi website today—oops—it’s offline now.
Too, Mary Jo Foley asked Microsoft about Microsoft Wi-Fi and has not gotten an answer. I’ll update this post when she does.
Oh, there is one more question.
One of the nice things about Skype Wi-Fi is that it used Skype credits for payment. But now that the service is gone, what will users do with the credit they already purchased?
Obviously, you can use these credits to make calls to normal phones from Skype, which is how I use them. But Microsoft says that customers who “don’t want to use Skype credits” for other products and services should contact Skype Customer Service. My guess is that you’ll get a refund.
Some clarity here would be great.