It looks like Microsoft is ready to take a second stab at moving Skype users to the modernized desktop app. In a post on the Microsoft Answers forum today, Ellen Kilbourne, Program Manager at Skype, revealed a new timeline for getting desktop and mobile devices switched over to the latest Skype, with the first waves set to begin in November.
The update from version 7 to version 8 allows us to unify the experience of using Skype across all desktop and mobile platforms. Unlike older versions, all version 8 applications are optimized to work in conjunction with our modern, mobile-friendly cloud services architecture, which has allowed us to deliver features such as video messaging and mobile group video calling over the past couple years. With a unified experience and with all applications now no longer having to support legacy architecture, our engineering teams can deliver features and quality improvements to customers much more quickly.
Getting down to brass tacks, Kilbourne says that the update will be distributed in waves over the next several months, with each wave requiring users to make the upgrade to continue using Skype. The first waves for desktop users will begin on November 1. Meanwhile, mobile device and tablet waves will begin on November 15. You can go ahead and upgrade now to avoid being forced to later. And if you'd rather use the Microsoft Store version of Skype, version 14 of the app, which is based on version 8 for desktop, is currently in testing with Insiders.
Kilbourne also offered a look at some of the features that are currently being worked on, as well as what the team is looking at implementing next.
The latest timeline comes after Microsoft reneged on its original plan to retire the classic Skype app (version 7) on September 1, requiring those using the older app to update to version 8. The move was in reaction to backlash over features that Skype version 8 was still missing. In the weeks since, the Skype team has promised more features are on the horizon, including split view and overhauled presence controls. The team also recently chose to ditch one of its more controversial features, Highlights, in a move toward "simplicity and familiarity."
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