Skype working to add notifications to the Windows Phone app?

The trusty New York Times just ran a nice behind-the-acquisiton piece on Microsoft on Skype discussing how the deal is panning out between the two companies. The article is mostly positive but it does of course address a few shortcomings of the MS-Skype deal that haven't materialized so far.

Windows Phone users are no stranger to the current limitations on the Skype app for Windows Phone, specifically the inability to receive calls or messages in the background. We outlined why such a system can be problematic for the mobile OS in a separate piece though it still doesn't alleviate disappointment for those wanting a richer VOIP experience.

Addressing that criticism, a Skype spokesman told the New York Times that such a shortcoming would be addressed in a future version of the software. While certainly positive sounding it still leaves many questions for us. For instance are we still talking about on Windows Phone 7.x or Windows Phone 8? Is there a distinction between the two development branches? What about devices like the Nokia Lumia 610 who can't run Skype? And of course, when will said update come?

At least from the tone it seems Skype and Microsoft are well aware of the criticism and plan to remedy them sometime in the future.  Some other noteworthy tidbits

  • Skype client for Xbox 360 is not expected this year (though we bet we'll hear more on that next week at E3 in Los Angeles. We'll be there to cover it.)
  • Microsoft will integrate Skype into Lync
  • Nokia is in talks with carriers about ways to bundle Nokia Windows Phones with Skype and "lucrative high-speed data plans"
  • Ballmer is quoted as saying that Skype has not hurt Windows Phone (with the carriers) and that those carriers know "...the future of communications doesn’t look like the present of communications"

From our own conversations with Microsoft and Skype employees, we gather that the big hold up are the technical challenges presented with Skype's infrastructure. In essence, it's a bit of a mess from an engineering perspective and Microsoft-Skype need to walk cautiously when updating and reconfiguring the network.

We'll see more of this partnership pay off in late 2012 and early 2013 as Microsoft rolls out Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8 but until then, we're expecting baby-steps. And so should you.

Source: The New York Times

Daniel Rubino

Daniel Rubino is the Editor-in-chief of Windows Central, head reviewer, podcast co-host, and analyst. He has been covering Microsoft since 2007 when this site was called WMExperts (and later Windows Phone Central). His interests include Windows, laptops, next-gen computing, and for some reason, watches. Before all this tech stuff, he worked on a Ph.D. in linguistics, watched people sleep (for medical purposes!), and ran the projectors at movie theaters because it was fun.

  • Skype should of never been pulled from the marketplace for lower end WP devices. We know that Skype can run on a 610, and it sounds pretty good if you ask me. They should leave it up to the user if they want to use the app, even if it's not to Nokia or MS performance expectations.
  • Agree.
  • If you want shi*ty performance, malware and no quality control, go back to Android
    If you were CEO, I am sure you would have just released 256 MB handsets with Mango and "let users decice", whether they want a horrible and Android or WP 7.5 handset.
  • @ Hiiiiiiiii Hyperbole much? Do you have a 610 with a sideloaded Skype app? Did you hear our podcast when a Nokia employee did the interview via Skype on the Lumia 610? Because I've used Skype on the 610 and it sounds fine and works well. It's nothing like the Android situation as there are no obvious errors or performance issues with the app. Try speaking from experience and not from a fanboy perspective. (PS I'm getting real tired of the "if you don't like, go to Android!" rebuttals here just because someone disagrees with a Microsoft proclamation. Try thinking of an original argument instead.)
  • If you don't like the comments, then go back to an Android forum....sorry, couldn't resist. :)
  • Lolnow THAT was funny!
  • we will just have to wait and see
  • I'm going to go out on the limb and just say that we will see Skype for XBox 360 in the fall update this year.
  • I expect to see something on this at E3 next week. I'll be shocked if it's not demoed or mentioned.
  • One of the things im looking forward to
  • Right now Skpe for WP is useless to me without notification. I'll use Tango for now.
  • Hahaha just text other party let.them know your on Skype now lazy
  • Like I said, I'll use Tango for now. LOL!
  • XD
  • thank you. That is exactly how I use Skype. By requesting permission to video chat with other party.
  • They better fix it now! If they know what's best for them.
  • You tell um!
  • Who do you think you are to tell them anything
  • A consumer? :P
  • we baby stepped for a year now ...
    Lets get moving with Microsoft
    Iphone, Ipad, android, android tablets ..
    If the people at skype don't like Microsoft than they need to be shown the Door..
    its time to move on and stop making excuses .. I Bet that we will not see any demo
    of skype for xbox next week but they have skype on the playstation hand held ..?
    Time is over and what the released for windows phone was soo disapointing..
    I'm starting to see that skype is a big anti microsoft shop..
    Lets move FOWARD..
  • Couldn't agree more... I wish I could fire couple of people from Skype team... The Skype team is just BS ing .... Even their desktop client get worse in each update. If Skype don't like Microsoft get the hell out and let someone who like MS products do the job... For some reason Ballmer is too nice to them...
  • +99999999999999999
  • I have no idea what you people are talking about. These things take time, especially with the way Skype's system works, but I do agree its long overdue. You do have to take into account that skype is a recent acquisition and power transfer will take some time. But did I miss something about Skype employees hating MS?
  • Just used Skype yesterday on my windows phone and it worked great. I dont care I can wait for the calls to receive in background. I can always tell the other party text me when your on Skype and I can just connect and start the video chat. The video worked great with no choppyness compare how you get it on laggy android or crappy facetime iphone
  • It's bot skype's infrastructure that holdes back but it's the WP7 infrastructure that holds back Skype to bring all the functions.
  • Tango app is running on WP infrastructure and has all the features that Skype is missing... BTW, Tango is not part of MS but Skype is part of MS...
  • Again with this. Skype and Tango work in very different ways. While this may not be a good enough excuse, skype is a recent acquisition and it takes lots of time to transfer power. Just because ms now owns Skype doesn't mean that they instantly run the company.
  • You don't seriously expect MS to let you know about all their plans and when/how exactly things will work, right? I'll tell you what, why don't you first learn how to link. when you refer to a NY Times article and link that to a wpcentral post from 2011 it makes this website feel like a cheap let's get more impressions play.
  • Sounds great. How do I delete from my message sent?
  • I love WP7 but I have to say, Microsoft did some things half ass.
  • Well, my opinion is that Skype as it is shouldn't be available to WP at all. Not having notifications for such a service is a complete, unfunny, joke.
  • In other words:No the current platform is akready a done deal. There will be nu furthur support from MS from this platform and they want you to buy the Windows 8 ecosystem. The rest is up to developers. I'm starting to wordt that the suggestion box is nu more than a container to sush our frustrations. Sad really.
  • Same old rumors same old sh..
  • said it before and I'll keep saying it. MS and SKYPE knew how the SKYPE network was structured when they went on stage and told us that Skype was coming for WP7. No one made them annouce it. Then they buy Skype and say nothing for months and finally they launch half an app. Not good enough!
  • This skype is worst after the last update. No way Microsoft do this kinda mistake.