In admittedly humorously worded blog post, Microsoft revealed today that it has discontinued Skype for Windows Phone 7. If you're still using a Windows Phone 7-based handset and already have Skype installed, it will stop working within the next few weeks, Microsoft says.
I apologize in advance for seeing humor in this. But the Microsoft blog post explaining this sudden and unexpected change is titled "Is Skype for Windows Phone 7 being discontinued?" and the first word of the body of the post is, "Yes." That's about as clear as you can get.
Here's what's happening.
Because only the newest versions of Skype support "enhanced quality, better reliability [and] improved security," and these versions of Skype cannot be ported to Windows Phone 7, Microsoft is "permanently retiring all Skype apps for Windows Phone 7." The app has been removed from the store, and those using Skype on Windows Phone 7 will find the app to be non-functioning soon ("within the next few weeks").
Why are they doing this so suddenly and without any advance warning? Who knows.
Does it have to do with low Windows Phone 7 usage? I don't believe so: According to the latest Windows Phone usage stats, 17.7 percent of Windows Phone users are still using Windows Phone 7.x devices. That's a pretty healthy percentage, though it's obviously on the way down.
If I had to guess—and what the heck, I do have to guess—I'd say that Microsoft is aware of a problem with older versions of Skype, and since there is no way to update the Windows Phone 7 version, they feel compelled to shut it down fairly immediately. Either that, or these Skype versions are holding up platform-wide improvements that would benefit a very large percentage of the Skype user base—i.e. everyone but those on Windows Phone 7—and that they can move forward only when this version is killed.
Still. You can give those users some number of months to prepare? That's kind of unfortunate.
On the good news front, if you only use Skype on Windows Phone 7 and feel you are entitled to a Skype Credit or subscription refund, you can contact Skype customer support and hope for the best.