Last week it was reported that the Modern version of the Skype app is being retired on July 7th, leaving the desktop version of Skype as the only one stop shop for all of Skype’s features after the retirement date. This led to many questions from users and the media, essentially asking “if Universal apps so important, why is Microsoft not making Skype a Universal app?” The premise behind this question and many more were asked by ZDNet’s Mary Jo Fowler in a Q&A with the Skype Senior Product Marketing Manager Aga Guzik.
First, there will be three Universal apps that have certain features of Skype ‘built in’ but the only way to have the entire Skype experience in one place will be the desktop version of Skype. Specifically, the universal Messaging, Calling, and Video apps in Windows 10 will have Skye ‘built in.’ This was done because as stated by Aga “With Windows 10 we wanted to truly build Skype into the platform so it’s easier and faster for users to complete tasks at hand.” While these apps will eventually be built into Windows 10, they will not be available on July 29th when Windows 10 ships to consumers.
The Universal Messaging, Phone, and Video apps will be available on phones, tablets, and desktops. They will come with Windows 10 but Aga clarified that users can “users can choose to turn off functionality by logging out of the Skype video app.” He also stated that to get the Universal apps, users have to update to Windows 10.
While the current emphasis is on these Universal apps that are built into Windows 10, Aga also said that “If we see a need for similar experiences on other platforms, we may consider building them.”
This separation of Skype features could divide the Skype user base and media coverage. While the idea of having a Universal Messaging app with Skype ‘built in’ is exciting, it also seems to separate Skype functionality into multiple locations. After the apps are released and users get a chance to use them there will be a better idea of if this split improves or deprecates the overall Skype experience.