Skype has been around for almost 13 years and for me is a key element of my daily work routine as I use it to communicate with colleagues that are in different parts of the country.
Microsoft purchased the peer to peer network back in May of 2011 for $8.5 billion and within a year had moved all of its user based supernodes to a more secure distribution hosted on Linux based machines in Microsoft's Azure cloud service.
The original Skype peer to peer network served its purpose well in the early days of Skype's existence and the smaller user numbers. However, from both a reliability and security perspective something had to change and this first shift in 2012 was the beginning of Skype moving to the cloud.
In a new blog post on the Skype Garage and Updates blog this week, the Skype team talks about that move and how it helped make current features like file sharing and video messaging more reliable. In addition, the cloud is supporting recent additions to the service like mobile group video calling, Skype Translator and Skype Bots.
And keep in mind that more users are also joining and using Skype with all of these new features from other platforms such as iOS and Android. If they're going to be supported, it'll be because cloud-based hosting can handle the influx of users.
According to Microsoft, the move is not done yet and there may be some legitimate hiccups as they continue to build out the service on Microsoft Azure but by making sure you keep your Skype client updated you will be prepared for those bumps.
A recent addition to Skype's collection of apps is the Skype Universal Windows Platform (UWP) app for Windows 10 devices. This app, which has been in preview now since last November, provided an early model of how Skype would be integrated into Windows 10.
Initially, there were two separate elements in that version of the Skype preview app: One for just for text based messaging and the other for video calls. They both lacked a lot of basic functionality for sharing files, etc. Microsoft collected tester feedback, and used that to build the new fully combined Skype Preview for Windows 10.
That universal app preview came to Windows 10 Insiders on PCs back in March and earlier this week the preview also arrived for Insiders using Windows 10 on mobile devices.
Although it is currently only available for Windows Insiders running build 14393, the app should be available for a full public preview after the Anniversary Update is released on 02 August.
As the service continues to improve and gain new features, that also means support for older devices will cease because of compatibility issues.
Microsoft has updated their Skype Support page and are now listing that these versions of Skype will no longer be supported after October 2016:
- Windows RT
- Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard
- Skype for Windows Phone 8 and 8.1
Users will be able to use Skype for Web in their browsers on Windows RT and Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard instead of the Skype software.
So, how is your life with Skype?