Bad news for those hoping to stick with the classic desktop version of Skype: Microsoft is pulling the plug. Again.
“As we continue to focus on and improve Skype version 8, support for Skype versions 7, and below will end on November 1, 2018 on desktop devices and November 15, 2018 on mobile and tablet devices,” a revision to Microsoft’s original post about the latest Skype version now reads. “Although you may be able to use older versions for a little while, we encourage you to update today to avoid any interruption.”
As you may recall, Microsoft suddenly and unexpectedly started upgrading the classic Skype desktop client—version 7.x—to a new, less capable product called Skype 8 in mid-July, right as I was heading to Sweden. Worse, they informed users that they had until September 1 to upgrade: After that, classic Skype would stop working.
Two weeks later, however, Microsoft backtracked and announced that it would let classic Skype “work for a limited time” past the September 1 date. So we now know how limited that time was: Two more months.
The software giant feels that it has made enough improvements to warrant the new deadline. It has added conversation search to Skype 8, for example, and will soon add the ability to tie phone numbers to Skype contacts. And Microsoft’s Ellen Kilbourne has shared an even longer list of improvements that the firm is working on, including performance improvements, advanced webcam settings, font size configuration, and more.
Which is, of course, the problem: A lot of those features are really basic. And when I complained that Skype 8 was less full-functional than its predecessor, that’s what I was referring to.
So what is this point of this non-upgrade upgrade?
“The update from version 7 to version 8 allows us to unify the experience of using Skype across all desktop and mobile platforms,” Kilbourne explains. “Unlike older versions, all version 8 applications are optimized to work in conjunction with our modern, mobile-friendly cloud services architecture, which has allowed us to deliver features such as video messaging and mobile group video calling over the past couple years. With a unified experience and with all applications now no longer having to support legacy architecture, our engineering teams can deliver features and quality improvements to customers much more quickly.”
Maybe they’ll get to multi-window view eventually too. You know, a Skype feature we’ve used for years.