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Microsoft launches new Skype for Linux alpha, asks for feedback

Microsoft has today announced a brand new Skype client for Linux, currently in alpha and available now for the Linux community to download, use and test. Due to the app being in alpha (that's pre-beta, as in really unfinished), there are a lot of features missing and likely a number of bugs that still need to be ironed out. Luckily, Microsoft says they are committed to the Linux platform and therefore are hoping testers will partake in submitting feedback throughout the development process.

The new Skype for Linux client is brand new and very different from the old, outdated Skype for Linux client that Linux users have unfortunately had to put up with. The new alpha introduces the new Skype UI, alongside file-sharing, photos, videos, emoticons and a whole lot more.

Microsoft is asking Skype customers on Linux to help test out this new client by using and providing feedback (opens in new tab) the Skype team:

"We can only get better with your feedback. As we develop this new version of Skype for Linux, we need you to test, provide feedback and help us prioritize features. You will notice that with the Alpha version of Skype for Linux, which uses our next generation calling architecture, you will be able to call your friends and family on the latest versions of Skype on Windows, Mac, iOS and Android, but you won't be able to make or receive calls to and from the previous versions of Skype for Linux ("

Microsoft has also announced that users using Chromebooks and the Chrome browser on Linux can now make calls via the online Skype website using the Skype WebRTC plugin, which is great news indeed.

Microsoft is trying to position Skype as a universal chat program, competing alongside WhatsApp, iMessage and many other communication platforms. Getting an updated client out on Linux will definitely make good progress within the Linux community, so if you're willing to try it out, make sure you give it a download!

Download Skype For Linux Alpha (opens in new tab)

Zac Bowden
Senior Editor

Zac Bowden is a Senior Editor at Windows Central. Bringing you exclusive coverage into the world of Windows 10 on PCs, tablets, phones, and more. Also an avid collector of rare Microsoft prototype devices! Keep in touch on Twitter: @zacbowden.

  • Is Skype still popular with consumers? ​Okay I use it everyday at work (former Lync) but on the consumer version all my contacts have gone to other services like FB Messenger, WhatsApp, iMessage, Snapchat or Hangouts. When I log into Skype my contact list is a wasteland of old usernames and pseudonyms who are never online anymore. ​European here. Maybe it's a local thing.    
  • It's that way here in the us as well. At least for me. Not a big fan of skype, mobile apps for Windows phones have sucked so right now its hard to give them a chance. Don't like the skype usernames and how Microsoft has tried to migrate it over to Microsoft logins.
  • It kind of depends. All of the people I knew who liked the old MSN messenger still *use* it, but its hardly their preferred platform, and it definitely doesn't have new users coming in. It doesn't work well and the branding is so outdated. For voice chat its much higher quality than hangouts tho.
  • People call me on Skype but chat via Facebook Messenger. If Microsoft brings SMS integration and SMS sync to all platforms on which Skype is available I think it'll drastically change. I know a ton of people who'd switch just for that.
  • Here in India, in my circle, for texting and multimedia sharing WhatsApp is the preferred choice for most users, even more than regular SMS. MMS & Voice Mail never took off in India.
    For voice calling, most people prefer regular voice calls, and WhatsApp calling comes second to that.
    But for Video Calls, Skype is the most preferred option, followed by Facebook Messengers's Video Call.
    (These might be restricted to the people I know/In my Circle).
  • That's a serious question, there is still a problem how MS communicates Skype to consumers. I didn't see or feel any effective efforts from MS to make Skype a serious messaging platform for consumers to be use on everyday. They just let Skype to stuck in people minds that its used for video calling, heck not even for voice calling, all while other messaging service slowly snatching users from Skype with attractive messaging aspects and now even offering voice calling and video calling capabilities, still basic but people already starting to forget Skype. The ditching of Skype integration from core communication apps of Windows 10 for me indicates that MS also seems to stuck about the legacy perception Skype. Instead of turning it into bit invisible but more baked experience to make Skype as their main communications platform, rather than an app that's preinstalled on Windows. Unified not as a single app but unified on Windows ecosystem and all other MS ecosystem. Skype despite being acquired by MS for a very long time, it's still feels like a 3rd-party and MS didn't even done something effective way to reinvigorate the brand that will resonate to any users for all their messaging needs, that is fun to use. Skype did evolve and gain new features and other things to be fair. So it wasn't that abandoned. It's really the marketing problem.
  • Here not many people use SMS since it was very expensive in the past and telecom companies refused to change. So people start flocking towards WhatsApp mainly. Now most telecoms provide unlimited SMS for free in your monthly subscription but nobody actually uses it anymore since people are used to using other things and have their contacts there. ​When i was at school i first used ICQ. But that was already over his hype and almost everybody moved over to MSN Messenger. (with MSN plus with ablock :p ). When they killed it off I was suddenly without the best chat program I've used so I went hangouts en Skype for while.
  • Here at work we use skype business integrated with O365. FB & others are actually blocked by IT group. Most of my external business contacts all use skype for conference.
  • For work I use SkypeFB and Office 365 too. But after work hours my collegues from my team communicate with me through WhatsApp or Hangouts.
  • Great work..
  • Isn't "iMessage" what Apple phones use? That's hardly universal like WhatsApp lol.
  • Came here for that exact comment.
  • I never said iMessage is universal. I said Skype is competing with it 'as' a universal chat platform, not because iMessage is one.
  • Who wants to bet skype for linux will end up better than skype for win10 when it's out of the alpha stage? Lol
  • For business conference meetings... Skype is still the best choice. Video, screen sharing etc. For messaging WhatsApp is the king.
  • NOW WITH ADS thanks previous version was just like skype 2.0, without ads and bling bling visuals isn't using linux one of main reason not to use ms services?
  • No. Linux has many more power-user functions than your mainstream OSes
  • I have no Idea why the Windows Fanboys are downvoting you.    You are right. Linux is made for power users and people who know what's going on in the background and want to tweak the **** out of there system. Hell, You can replace the interface. 
  • This is the year of Linux! Sorry, Windows Phone..not even your owner cares about you....LOL
  • Someone here, either you or one of your troll friends was complaining that Microsoft bought Skype, promised that it would stay independant but then turned it into just another Microsoft product where they only cared about the Windows version. And yet, here they are supporting other platforms, a platform that they usually don't care about (because only a handful cares about it) and you are complaining about it. And how is this something bad about WP? WP has Skype, they update it on the phone. Or are you just grasping at straws, again, to troll?
  • whatsapp for linux
  • Linux is as much a threat to Windows as Windows Mobile is a threat to iOS/Android. Only 2-3% of PC users use it, and that's because they choose to be different. That and passionately hate all 3 mainstream tech companies. By supporting Linux, Microsoft is just making sure their services are available to literally everyone who wants them.
  • Where's the uwp app they said was coming in June?
  • What happened to Yahoo! Messenger?
  • Yet the Windows version is still garbage. How about fixing the Windows version first?
  • True, I uninstalled the old skype on my insider phone for the new experience and I always hit the error where I cant download it. Now I have no skype...
  • I'm impressed with how willing the Skype team is to try out new things :)