Microsoft Will Switch PC Skype Users to Desktop Version Next Month
Microsoft will push an update to PC users of its "modern" Skype for Windows app, starting next month.
On July 7, Microsoft will begin replacing its touch-enabled modern Skype for Windows app with the "desktop" version of that app for PC users. The desktop version is optimized for keyboard-and-mouse users but it also supports touch. The Skype clients are used for voice, video and text communications.
The company will be "retiring the modern application" version of Skype for Windows for PCs on July 7, according to Microsoft's announcement today.
The switch is notable because Microsoft has generally tended to emphasize modern apps over desktop ones as the evolving trend. Windows 8 was the operating system that first introduced the modern user interface side (formerly known as "Metro"), along with the more traditional "desktop" side. The two sides of the OS ran modern and desktop apps, respectively, but Microsoft seemed to be signaling that modern apps represented the path forward.
And that still may be the case. Microsoft merely explained the switch by saying that "we're simplifying your PC experience down to one app that you can use either with your mouse and keyboard or with touch." It cited positive user feedback for the desktop version. It also wants to deliver a "more efficient Skype experience" via the desktop version.
Windows 10, set for release on July 29, will have built-in Skype video, phone and messaging capabilities, the announcement indicated. Presumably, this Skype app will be a modern app, but the announcement didn't say so.
Windows RT users won't experience the July 7 switch, Microsoft indicated. Likely that's because the Windows RT OS can only run modern apps and can't run desktop ones natively at all.
PC users with the modern Skype app will be prompted to download the desktop app when they try to access the modern app version on July 7, the announcement explained. Once set up, this desktop app will accept the user's current Skype user name and password. However, just the contacts and conversations from "the last 30 days" will be available in the app.
Kurt Mackie is senior news producer for the 1105 Enterprise Computing Group.