Why should Skype go away?

As recently as Windows Weekly on the 16th with Chris Capossela, the question was posed about getting rid of Skype in favor of Teams. While this seems like the kind of thing a big tech company would do, does it really make practical sense?

Would it confuse consumers looking for a personal messaging/calling app to look for an app called Teams? It makes sense to me for Skype to be dedicated to individual conversations with anyone on the Skype platform, while Teams is for longer term groups.

Microsoft should align the Skype client and Teams client to be so similar that maintaining two apps is non-material. Personally it would make more sense for Microsoft to use Skype as a brand to compete more with Discord (consumer and freemium) and use Teams to compete with Slack/Zoom (business and organizations) but the two clients are the same tech but different branding.

Conversation 29 comments

  • ruivo

    18 December, 2020 - 10:55 am

    <p>The only explanation I can think of is that Microsoft is run like a medieval feudal society, and the Baron from the Skype team was killed by the champion of the Teams… team. Or maybe their Bishop defeated their Queen or something like that.</p><p>In essence, internal bickering seems to be killing whatever mismanagement spared.</p>

  • illuminated

    18 December, 2020 - 11:54 am

    <p>100% agree with your post. Dropping skype would only push its users to other alternatives that are NOT teams. Compared to skype teams looks very busy. Somewhat similar to notepad vs word in my opinion. OK for business but total overkill for personal use.</p>

  • dftf

    18 December, 2020 - 11:57 am

    <p>It would make sense to use the same codebase, but simply disable certain features in the "home" version, but retain the Skype name. "Skype" is so common now it's used as a verb: "to Skype someone", similar to "Google something". I don't-think "I'll Team you" would ever take-off the same-way. (Though remember, originally for businesses, the client was called "Lync").</p><p><br></p><p>It would be good to do-away with the era of apps with similar names but built from different codebases: "Outlook Express" and "Outlook" aren't the same; "MSN Messenger" (later "Windows Live Messenger") and "Windows Messenger" (that came built-into Windows XP) weren't the same code; "Microsoft Works" wasn't just a feature-reduced version of Microsoft Office but largely it's own thing; "FrontPage Express" and "FrontPage" I think did share some code, but the Express version was still not just the full-version with some features removed; "Windows Movie Maker" and "Windows Live Movie Maker" didn't have the same feature-sets; "Windows Defender" was originally just anti-malware in Vista and 7, with "Microsoft Security Essentials" being an optional install that also searched for viruses; in Windows 8, "Microsoft Security Essentials" came built-in, but oddly was renamed "Windows Defender" (in Windows 10 it's currently "Windows Security" but earlier-on was "Windows Defender Security Centre"!); if you use modern sign-in methods in Windows 10, such as fingerprint or face-recognition, these are referred to as "Windows Passport", not to be confused with ".NET Passport" from the late 90s and early 2000s.</p><p><br></p><p>Let's just have one app, and the "free", "lite" or "home" version simply drop features that would not be required.</p>

  • shark47

    18 December, 2020 - 12:33 pm

    <p>Skype is the type of product that would be perfect for me if more people used it. It's truly cross-platform. I have an iPhone from work and a personal Android phone. My wife has an iPhone. Skype is the only messaging solution that works across all these platforms. It also doesn't have the weird 40 minute restriction that Zoom does. Yet, most people I know don't use Skype, so it's practically useless. Microsoft dropped the ball big time here.</p>

    • wright_is

      Premium Member
      18 December, 2020 - 12:46 pm

      <blockquote><em><a href="#600836">In reply to shark47:</a></em></blockquote><p>There is also WhatsApp, signal, telegram, Threema, Facebook Messenger and several other apps that are cross platform. </p>

      • shark47

        18 December, 2020 - 12:52 pm

        <blockquote><em><a href="#600839">In reply to wright_is:</a></em></blockquote><p>I have the same problem with the other apps – I don't know of anyone using them. WhatsApp, I use, but I think it's tied to your phone #, so two phones means two accounts, which is annoying.</p>

    • jhambi

      18 December, 2020 - 7:27 pm

      <blockquote><em><a href="#600836">In reply to shark47:</a></em></blockquote><p>Google Meet is pretty good. Most people have the gmail app</p>

    • phil_adcock

      18 December, 2020 - 11:23 pm

      <blockquote><em><a href="#600836">In reply to shark47:</a></em></blockquote><p>I use messenger because it works everywhere I am. Windows, Iphone, &amp; Mac. I also have Whatapp (3 Contacts), &amp; Skype (about 50 contacts). I have found a few apps on Mac that will allow me to use Whatsapp, Skype &amp; messenger in one app. So there are things out there to mess around with.</p>

      • lwetzel

        Premium Member
        21 December, 2020 - 12:51 pm

        <blockquote><em><a href="#600976">In reply to Phil_Adcock:</a></em></blockquote><p>Do you mean Facebook Messenger?</p><p><br></p>

  • gregsedwards

    Premium Member
    18 December, 2020 - 1:52 pm

    <p>I agree that the naming (well, the marketing in general) is probably the biggest hurdle facing both Teams and Skype. Teams makes total sense for business users, but it's a weird pivot to ask friends and family to join you on Teams. I just want to chat with someone, not plan a heist together. </p><p>Likewise, Skype is a household name, but it's rather tainted as a serious business application. Remember, they tried re-branding Lync as Skype for Business for a minute and even considered Skype Teams as the name for their current collaboration darling before settling on Teams. </p><p>Like it or not, Skype is synonymous with low-bar communications. It has basically become the AOL of chat apps…everybody has heard of it, but somehow nobody uses it anymore. And that's the death knell for a social app.</p>

  • darkgrayknight

    Premium Member
    18 December, 2020 - 2:12 pm

    <p>I agree, Skype can still be saved as a brand with some updates and some marketing. The updates are coming, so they just need to market it more for consumers.</p>

  • illuminated

    18 December, 2020 - 2:14 pm

    <blockquote><em><a href="#600845">In reply to Dan:</a></em></blockquote><p>I never heard "I'll facetime" or "I'll team" or "I'll zoom". It must be some sort of first app terminology that goes away when people learn that there are multiple apps that do the same thing.</p>

  • jumpingjackflash5

    18 December, 2020 - 4:31 pm

    <p>Teams for business/schools, Skype for personal use. Skype can then be lighter client. That is OK. And make gateways between Teams and Skype for users that want to use Skype client for casual connecting (chat/voice/video) to Teams. </p>

  • christianwilson

    Premium Member
    18 December, 2020 - 4:58 pm

    <blockquote><em><a href="#600845">In reply to Dan:</a></em></blockquote><p>I used to hear Skype used as a verb a lot, but it has been years.</p>

  • illuminated

    18 December, 2020 - 5:46 pm

    <blockquote><em><a href="#600869">In reply to Dan:</a></em></blockquote><p>Never heard about special HIPAA exceptions for facetime. There are some rules that must be satisfied by software to be HIPAA compliant not the other way around. </p><p><br></p><p>I am not surprised by Apple ecosystem users using Apple terms. They have their default app and may not be even aware of anything else. This is the reason why we have windows iPads and android iPads :)</p>

  • shark47

    18 December, 2020 - 6:14 pm

    <blockquote><em><a href="#600869">In reply to Dan:</a></em></blockquote><p>"You're on Android? Sorry, you'll have to come in."</p>

  • navarac

    19 December, 2020 - 3:54 am

    <p>The biggest problem is Microsoft and it's branding policy – it hasn't got one! They change names/brands so often that you cannot keep up with it. Mark my words, "Teams" will change/disappear/get renamed at some stage in the future.</p>

  • ghostrider

    19 December, 2020 - 4:55 am

    <p>Teams is guaranteed revenue – Skype not so much. Sadly, it's not about what's best for the consumer anymore, we're way past that. Money is still king, and cloud is about long term commitments, continuous revenue and lock-in. </p>

  • j5

    Premium Member
    19 December, 2020 - 2:07 pm

    <p>I get what you're saying but I think you're forgetting that the consumer market "normies" don't use their personal computers to chat with people anymore. They did in the early 2000s, MSN Messenger and ICQ. But the smartphone changed all of that, for a lot of industries and markets. </p><p><br></p><p>Skype was great for companies that have lots of employees, big buildings, departments all over the country or world. It's stripped-down and "strictly business".</p><p><br></p><p>But in the new era of Covid business and those companies sending people to work from home it just makes sense to move to an application like Teams that handles video, chat, phone calls, files, and "channels". I work for an oil &amp; gas company and we're almost done with migrating away from Skype and going full-time on Teams. All your chats are saved and whatever files you send in them, that's huge! You have full chat capabilities like you would on your smartphone. Of course, chatting isn't stripped-down but needed for this modern era of communication, and being able to be emotive is important now.</p><p><br></p><p>I'd be curious to see what the stats are on Skype usage in the consumer market a few since the smartphone and a few years before the pandemic. I'd bet it's a big down trend.</p>

  • minke

    19 December, 2020 - 6:33 pm

    <p>It's funny you bring up Skype which I used the other day for the first time in a long time, and it still seems to work well and has a few neat little things like being able to make actual phone calls. I've used it more than once when another phone was not available for one reason or another. I agree that Skype should become the consumer-focused app, but Microsoft seems to care little for ordinary individual users these days. However, for video talk Zoom is the default now with just about everyone, particularly if you are not iphone users. Iphone folks just use facetime. I have tried to get people to use Google Meet a couple of times and universally they told me to use Zoom next time. It is what they are using at school and often for work. It's actually an advantage to have the 40-minute restriction. Keeps everyone on point.</p>

  • William Clark

    19 December, 2020 - 8:00 pm

    <blockquote><em><a href="#600845">In reply to Dan:</a></em></blockquote><p>I have heard people use that phrase but it sort of went away when it looked like MS was investing in Teams, not Skype. Now it seems that Skype is back. I think the opportunity is lost but they should have called it Skype Individual and Skype Teams to differentiate the functionality. </p>

  • jimchamplin

    Premium Member
    20 December, 2020 - 5:52 pm

    <p>Why not just continue with how it is? Skype is an individual-to-individual chat/call/video app while Teams is groupware.</p><p><br></p><p>I use both anymore for different things. If I'm going to be calling family for a big day-long e-visit, it's going to be on Skype.</p><p><br></p><p>On the other hand, I'm part of an online RPG group, and Teams lets us run a channel for each storyline. It can be customized with apps to access player materials (handbooks, stats, maps, et cetera) and things like dice-roll mechanics. Those are things that just can't be done with Skype. The group can virtually get together on audio – video is pointless for this – and run the campaigns without having to risk our health with in-person meetings.</p>

    • wright_is

      Premium Member
      21 December, 2020 - 12:47 am

      <blockquote><em><a href="#601277">In reply to jimchamplin:</a></em></blockquote><p>We use Teams for 90% 1-1 calls and chats.</p><p>I would say, Teams is the business solution and Skype the private solution. But it has lost too much popularity over the last decade.</p><p>It could have won, but Microsoft lost interest in it just at the time that group chat apps like WhatsApp, Signal and Telegram took off. They already had the client, it was already platform independent, working on Windows, Linux, macOS, Android and iOS, but they missed the rush to messaging apps. They were the old grandpa of messaging apps, slouching around in a dressing gown and tartan slippers, while the young upstarts turned up with a fresh image.</p>

  • wunderbar

    Premium Member
    20 December, 2020 - 7:33 pm

    <p>Microsoft's issue is that because they let Skype twist in the wind for so long, it has long been passed as the "kleenex" of chat apps. Instead of saying "I'll skype you" for the last several years it has been "I'll facetime you." This year, its "I'll zoom you"</p><p><br></p><p>Skype was the dominant desktop chat/video client, but the problem is that people don't use desktop computers en masse anymore for personal use. And other apps have taken over as the "default" for those mobile platforms.</p><p><br></p><p>Skype works great, I used it for a video call on Friday night, but on Saturday on another video call Zoom was used, and there was no practical difference between the experiences. My girlfriend uses Facetime to do video calls with her friends all the time, or when they want to do something fun/interactive they use house party.</p><p><br></p><p>Skype works fine, but the reality is that it never broke into widespread use as a mobile service. That's why it is probably going away as a brand. It has lost its relevance on the platform that most people use most of the time.</p>

    • wright_is

      Premium Member
      21 December, 2020 - 12:46 am

      <blockquote><em><a href="#601283">In reply to wunderbar:</a></em></blockquote><p>Skype has been on mobile for the best part of a decade. I used it on my Windows Phones and my Android devices over the years.</p><p>But ever fewer people used it, video and VOIP calls went out of fashion between around 2007 and 2015. Then WhatsApp turned up and everybody jumped on that. With its now quasi-illegal status in Europe, a lot of companies have banned it, so people have switched to Telegram and Signal, although it still has a big following among TV programmes and my daughter had to reluctantly re-install it, after 4 years of not using it, because her pre-natal group communicated over it exclusively.</p><p>Interestingly, I had to install Skype on a couple of PCs last week, because a customer in Russia wanted a video conference und they won't use our Teams or any other service, only Skype.</p>

  • reefer2

    21 December, 2020 - 7:13 am

    <p>Because almost no one use Skype.</p>

    • Paul Thurrott

      Premium Member
      21 December, 2020 - 8:37 am

      Microsoft said in March that over 200 million people use Skype. That’s almost double the current number of Teams users.

      • shark47

        21 December, 2020 - 1:42 pm

        <blockquote><em><a href="#601360">In reply to paul-thurrott:</a></em></blockquote><p>I'm surprised they didn't go with a two pronged strategy that others have discussed here: Teams for businesses and Skype for consumers. I guess they realize that once the pandemic is over, the consumer part won't matter as much.</p>

  • lwetzel

    Premium Member
    21 December, 2020 - 12:57 pm

    <blockquote><em><a href="#600845">In reply to Dan:</a></em></blockquote><p>Depends on your circle. I have heard that statement with skype, Facetime, Message and Zoom.</p><p><br></p>


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