Microsoft has now publically announced that from July 7th, in a fairly short time frame, that it will be dropping the Skype for Modern Windows (aka Metro) App on Windows 8/8.1 platforms.
For a long time, Microsoft have announced “We’re working hard on getting all of our features into Skype for modern Windows and you’ll be notified when these updates become available.” – but they now appear to have decided that the desktop version of Skype, is the way forward.
In an email sent to users, Microsoft announced the ditching of the product stating they were “simplifying the user experience”. Confusingly, they are now going to start calling the installed desktop program an “App”, so looking for the word “Desktop” to differentiate is key. That of course means you’ll use the “Desktop” version, even on a tablet running full-blown Windows. Windows RT users will continue to have the app for the time being, but it’s very likely that no new improvements or development will take place.
This is not the first time Skype team have U-turned and in November 2013 they cancelled plans to remove the Skype API from the desktop product, an “improvement” that would left thousands of headset users and podcasters with no audio capability – but at least it seems their changes of heart appear to be customer driven and demonstrate they are listening – which isn’t a bad thing given the fact they produce a communication product.
Whether the move back to the desktop application is governed by the need to maintain one product line we do not know but Skype’s recent improvements into its universal translator, adding French and German support may well give us a clue. Adding to that the likely need to integrate Skype and “Skype for business” (Formerly Lync) and important features such as desktop sharing, you can see why a lightweight app that didn’t deliver has been killed.