Microsoft Consolidates Skype on Windows

Posted on June 23, 2020 by Paul Thurrott in Skype, Windows 10 with 43 Comments

Back in March, we reported that Microsoft was getting ready to kill off Skype for Windows 10. This week, it’s finally happening.

“Starting in June 2020, Skype for Windows 10 and Skype for Desktop are becoming one so we can provide a consistent experience,” a Skype support document notes. “This lets us give the newest updates and improvements regardless of where you get Skype, from the Microsoft Store or from skype.com.”

What’s odd is that both apps will still be available and will offer consistent feature sets. This means that the “Store app,” i.e. Skype for Windows 10, has been reimplemented as an Electron app, just like the desktop version. (Previously, it was a React Native app, which is a type of UWP app on Windows 10.)

Thanks to this shift, Skype for Windows 10 is temporarily losing two features: Share integration and Outlook contact synchronization. But Microsoft notes that the latest versions of Skype for Windows 10 (Store) and Skype (desktop) both have the following new features:

  • Updated close options so you can quit Skype or stop it from starting automatically
  • Improved Tray icon, informing you about new messages and presence status
  • Share files directly from your File Explorer
  • 9 videos in a video call
  • Background Replacement
  • Moderated Chats
  • Meet Now Improvements
  • Improved Call Controls

Confused? Welcome to the club. I prefer(ed) Skype for Windows, just as I prefer(ed) OneNote for Windows, over the desktop alternatives. But with UWP no longer the future, Microsoft is apparently scaling back its in-house efforts, which I guess makes sense. Ah well.

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Comments (48)

48 responses to “Microsoft Consolidates Skype on Windows”

  1. Avatar

    brothernod

    Well crap, I use Share integration for sending website articles to friends all the time :( Email is just noise and Skype was the only chat app in the share picker. I guess the Share picker is officially dead too :/

  2. Avatar

    Omen_20

    The electron version always loads up with a black screen, so I have to close and reopen every time I boot up. Also, it lost the ability to reply directly in notifications. Hopefully they beef up features because I believe in switching apps to PWA eventually.

  3. Avatar

    red77star

    DOA. Skype is about to be canned. Microsoft lost their track with it and with everything else once they left native C/C++ for anything else along with .NET crap.

  4. Avatar

    Winner

    "Microsoft is trying to consolidate the mess they've made with a formerly clean product that they bought"

  5. Avatar

    Breaker119

    I know I'll get slaughtered for this, but what does that mean for Windows 10 Mobile? Both of my young kids have Win10 Phones specifically for this purpose - to contact parents and grandparents on Skype.

    • Avatar

      SvenJ

      In reply to Breaker119: Do they use cell service or just Wi-Fi? I know I'll get slaughtered for this, but if just Wi-Fi, heard of an iPod Touch?


      • Avatar

        Breaker119

        In reply to SvenJ:

        Wi-Fi only. I stick with the WinPhone for them because I can control their experience through Microsoft Family settings and it doesn't require me buying new devices. If I can use family settings like blocking YouTube, allowing app purchase through credit they have earned, and other parental limits then I should learn those,


        However, I do not know what the family settings capabilities are on iOS or Android - and for a 9 and 12 year old these are incredibly important. I see where their school has already failed on controlling their iPads...

    • Avatar

      Paul Thurrott

      WTH. Windows Mobile has been dead for years. Try an iPad or iPod touch if you don't want a real phone.
  6. Avatar

    ndragonawa_ii

    In reply to RM:

    The mobile Xbox app (afaik on my phone) is the equivalent of the Console Companion app on PC, which is depreciated.


    The Game Pass app on mobile is more in line with the Xbox app on PC, but on mobile it serves as a remote downloader, versus a frontend to the Microsoft Store on PC.


    I maintain my point that it's weird.

  7. Avatar

    anderb

    And people wonder why Zoom users didn't choose Skype instead.

  8. Avatar

    bradavon

    What’s odd is that both apps will still be available and will offer consistent feature sets


    This is false. There's now only one version. You can install it from the Store or Web.


    The UWP app had an ARM64 version. The Win32 app does not. Now I have a slower Skype on my Surface Pro X :-/

  9. Avatar

    bradavon

    Starting in June 2020, Skype for Windows 10 and Skype for Desktop are becoming one so we can provide a consistent experience. 


    This makes sense but they're downgrading the experience on Windows 10 for Windows 7 which is out of support and Windows 8.1 which will be soon :(.

  10. Avatar

    gregsedwards

    Apple: We're switching our Macs to a new processor architecture, but don't worry, our software is so polished that you won't even notice.


    Microsoft: We're switching this one app to a new programming framework, and we can't get it to work with a basic feature of the operating system we also make.

  11. Avatar

    martinusv2

    Noticed when Skype asked to configure again. Noticed that the UI felt different.

  12. Avatar

    bart

    So what is the benefit of Electron? I am a non-programmer, so go easy on me :)

  13. Avatar

    Vladimir Carli

    I wonder how this will turn out. My only reason to continue using Skype is NDI integration, which allows you to record a call with an independent video feed for each caller. This feature is available on paper on both the store app and the desktop app. However, it works seamlessly for the desktop app but, for unknown reasons and at least for me, it does not work with the store app. I hope it will continue to work after this consolidation

  14. Avatar

    hellcatm

    "This means that the “Store app,” i.e. Skype for Windows 10, has been reimplemented as an Electron app, just like the desktop version."


    If they just made the Xbox app a non-electron app why would they make the Skype one electron? from what I understand electron is awful, thats why the Xbox app now runs a lot faster than before. Or is it just because they don't want to re-write both apps?

  15. Avatar

    coeus89

    Seems pretty reasonable. I liked the share picker integration. Hopefully that comes back soon.

  16. Avatar

    alimaggs

    The new app is absolutely terrible. It's unreliable - sometimes I'll get a notification, but the messages don't appear in Skype conversations until I've force quit the app, and then restart it. It absolutely freaks out if you try and interact with it on a touchscreen (the bottom 50% of my screen turns into black space, with Skype squished up the top)... I've no idea how anybody would consider this a superior experience. I'd have expected the team to have seen sense after the huge improvement the Xbox team had moving to React Native FROM Electron.

  17. Avatar

    ggolcher

    I preferred the old version because I didn't have to have Skype running in the tray to get messages. Much better since we already have a full-fledged notification center... right?


    But still, the tone-deafness continues, especially because Skype is better on Mac than on Windows.


    On Mac the Skype icon is just monochromatic and it just blends in, but on Windows it's shocking green, sticking like a sore thumb.


    And on Mac Skype screen sharing hides the video feed of the person (as it should), but on Windows it doesn't and people see themselves.


    It's maddening how little they care.

  18. Avatar

    wunderbar

    dumping a native code version for an electron app is a massive step backwards. Electron is trash.

      • Avatar

        wunderbar

        In reply to Stokkolm:

        Teams is also garbage, yes. It is getting very bloated and very slow very quickly.

      • Avatar

        Vladimir Carli

        In reply to Stokkolm:


        I would. Sorry but teams (as a conference call tool) is trash, overbloated, gives a lot of problems, unreliable. They are stuffing it with file sharing features I don't care about. It never remembers my audio setup and I have to reconfigure it each time it starts. It doesn't support multiple accounts. God help you if you have to use it to speak with people outside your organization. I wonder how many people would pay for it if it was not included for free in microsoft365. My experience (on a university campus with thousands of users) is that people get upset at you when you suggest to use teams instead of skype or zoom

        • Avatar

          Stokkolm

          In reply to Vladimir:

          Interesting. I also work at a university and have had some similar experiences, but also some opposite. I definitely don't have issues with it remembering my audio device setup. I am a member of two Teams tenants and while it does require you to log out of one and into the other that works (though it would be really nice to not have to log out). For conferencing it's nearly as good as Zoom in my experience, though missing a couple of features like breakout rooms. In my opinion, the achilles heal of it is that is relies so heavily on Exchange integration. We use G-Suite for mail and calendar in our organization and for some reason Microsoft refuses to even create a G-Suite Marketplace extension to allow you to schedule Teams meetings natively there like Zoom and WebEx do.

        • Avatar

          wright_is

          In reply to Vladimir:

          The audio set-up works reliably for us, we haven't had any complaints about it forgetting configurations, and when I plug in a headset, it automatically switches to using it.

          That said, the system is a bloated mess.

          The biggest problem is inviting external guests. We had one who messed up the invitation and we have been working for nearly 2 weeks to eradicate the broken guest entry and re-issue an invitation, but no dice so far.

          • Avatar

            Vladimir Carli

            In reply to wright_is:


            I have to use to different Microsoft 365 accounts, one business, one educational. In my line of work I record lessons and webinars, so I have a complex setup with several audio devices that I control through voicemeeter, therefore the voicemeeter virtual devices are always my default devices. If I close teams and then re-open it, the audio settings are correctly maintained. However, each single time I logout from one account and login in the other one, Teams loses its configuration and I have to set it up again manually. This behaviour is exclusive to teams, everything else works well, including zoom, skype and windows itself. If anyone can help with this issue, it would be very useful.


            Regarding the bloated mess, I really don't get it. It seems made on purpose to irritate users that only need a conferencing tool. Microsoft365 already includes onedrive apps, sharepoint apps etc, what is the point of replicating everything into teams? Even if there is a need for this, wouldn't it be better to have optional plugins? As I said before, I don't get it

        • Avatar

          ids

          In reply to Vladimir:

          VS.code is a good example of an Electron app. Yes there is always room for improvement with every framework.


          Teams does support multiple accounts. I have three different tenants connected. Yes it swaps over but still works.

          • Avatar

            Vladimir Carli

            In reply to ids:


            can you please explain what you mean by support of multiple accounts? Of course you can logout from one account and login into the other one. But the point would be to be connected with both accounts at the same time. Are you able to do that?

          • Avatar

            wright_is

            In reply to ids:

            VS Code is very nice, but it uses about 300-500MB more memory on start-up than such an editor would actually "need". For example, with no documents open, Notepad++ takes up 13MB, VS Code takes up over 300MB, although I've seen it take more.

            VS Code is a bit better than Notepad++, but it isn't over 20 times better.

            • Avatar

              Paul Thurrott

              I don't understand this kind of complaint in 2020, at all. You somehow noticed 300 to 500 MB in app RAM usage vs. some other app? You either need this thing or you don't. If you do, you use it. And if you're a developer you have enough RAM. So who cares? Focus on your work, and let your OS handle RAM management. That's what it's for.
  19. Avatar

    hal9000

    Paul you should draw some sort of timeline that describes the Skype mess since Windows 8.

    All this back and forth, consolidations, new apps, old apps... it's a never ending story!

    I think it's Microsoft's messiest product management. That includes the Lync to Skype for Business rebranding, which created nothing but confusion.

    It's almost like they deliberately want to destroy the Skype brand.

    Oh right, thy just announced Teams for consumers...

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